Today I read the Robert Frost poem, “Reluctance,” for the first time. Here it is in its entirety. It’s meaning for me will be forever connected to the context in which I encountered it, a mother’s reflection on this day one year ago. Thank you, Ruth.Out through the fields and the woodsAnd over the walls I have wended;I have climbed the hills of viewAnd looked at the world, and descended;I have come by the highway home,And lo, it is ended.The leaves are all dead on the ground,Save those that the oak is keepingTo ravel them one by oneAnd let them go scraping and creepingOut over the crusted snow,When others are sleeping.And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,No longer blown hither and thither;The last lone aster is gone;The flowers of the witch hazel wither;The heart is still aching to seek,But the feet question “Whither?”Ah, when to the heart of manWas it ever less than a treasonTo go with the drift of things,To yield with a grace to reason,And bow and accept the endOf a love or a season?
A year ago today, I didn’t want to believe the Sandy Hook School shootings could possibly be true. On the day after, I tried to create a bubble in which to protect my children from the harsh reality of the world. I took them to the Robert Frost Interpretative Trail, in the Green Mountains of Vermont. The trail is a beautiful, one-mile loop over a river and through some woods, displaying Frost’s poetry beside the path. Just ten minutes from our house, it felt like a safe place to be with my kids. I wrote this piece about our afternoon there.
I took you there, the day after, to the Frost Trail. We had gone often before. To pick blueberries, walk dogs, climb trees, read poems, dip our toes in the bubbling water. So often a refuge for a tired mother whose children needed to stretch their legs outside.
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