Two Roads Diverged

Photo Courtesy of swimparallel
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

In other words, I have started down a different path now. Different from the one that took me across the country eight years ago, different from the one that shaped me from a wide-eyed college kid into the woman I am today.

I have experienced so much in the past eight years that it's hard to know where to begin. I graduated from the University of Central Florida and moved to California, and I met a boy and kissed him while snow drifted through the air and settled like lace on our shoulders and in our hair.

I rescued sea lions and served martinis in Monterey, swam with dolphins and released sea turtles in Florida, and I packed up everything I owned when I decided to marry that California boy. We loaded our truck and headed north to Alaska, and we spent nearly four years hiking, drinking micro-brewed beers, and exploring the Great White North. I raised mountain goats and baby bears at the zoo, I watched stars and trained one particular camel who still owns a big piece of my heart.

We made friends and said goodbye to them, and we headed south again when my heart started pulling me back to Florida. That California boy would have stayed in Alaska forever, but we settled on Colorado, and we decided it was a good compromise.

But it wasn't. My heart strings still tugged me home, and the birth of my new nephew made the pain unbearable.

What do you do when you realize you'll lose yourself if you don't follow your heart? What do you do when the California boy--who is now a man--realizes he'll lose himself if he comes with you?

Do you sacrifice your path? Does he? Do both of you give up on the intrinsic essence that makes you who you are?

Or do you start down your paths alone? Do you leave your relationship in the hands of fate, in the belief that your love will survive if it is meant to survive?

And if it isn't, are you strong enough to handle that? Are you strong enough to say goodbye, to know that you will always love and care about this man, even if your destinies are no longer entwined?

The answer: I sure hope I am.