Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Image from Magpie #50


Road Sign Redux

Hike the Appalachian Trail
and you’re likely to run into bears,
cougars, rainstorms, poison ivy,

boulders, hunger, thirst,
and a snake or two. The signs
don't tell you this.

South to Georgia, north to Maine,
4.9 miles to Little Gap,
16 to Leroy's Shelter.

Come across one of these signs
in the woods and suddenly you're
Robert Frost, choosing.

Signs point. You decide.
It's like waking up one morning
knowing you're no longer lost.

18 comments:

Brian Miller said...

i have spent many a night on the AT in a sleeping bag...and heard them walking by...

thingy said...

That's why I won't do the trail. Bears!

steven said...

i had a friend who flew from england for four summers in a row to do a chunk of the appalachian trail. his stories - written on thin blue paper in striped airmail letters after he got home - were beautiful . . . the finest confection! steven

patteran said...

All great, but I love those last two stanzas!

Marion said...

I agree with patteran...the last two stanzas complete it so well. You are simply awesome, Pauline, in your writing. Every time I visit, I leave feeling like I've been in the presence of a real wordsmith and I can't think of anything better than that!

Mary said...

Good write. The pic also made me think of Frost. Just wondering, have you read 'A Walk in the Woods' by Bryson?

Pauline said...

Brian M - the trail is nearby but though I've hiked short bits of it, I've never camped overnight along it.

There are bears in my backyard, Thingy, so that's not a new danger ;)

Steven - Years ago I met and interviewed a young woman who was walking from Georgia to Maine - she said it was a voyage of discovery

Thanks, Dick! I like the idea that choosing makes all the difference

Ah Marion - thank you!

I have, Mary. I made the mistake of reading it on an airplane journey and found myself being embarrassed often by laughing out loud.

Tumblewords: said...

Love that last stanza - it sings with promise. Wonderful piece...

Sioux Roslawski said...

Signs point. You decide. The shortness of the lines speaks for the matter-of-factness of decisions. Just make them!

Reya Mellicker said...

I love this. You know, I'm always looking for signs, right? Yep.

Lynn Hamilton Rutherford said...

Aaaah to be lost in the woods with Robert Frost!!! This whole piece amazes me .... I love love LOVE it!!!

Lynn Hamilton Rutherford said...

Aaaah to be lost in the woods with Robert Frost!!! This whole piece amazes me .... I love love LOVE it!!!

Tess Kincaid said...

Sorry I could not travel both.

gospelwriter said...

Thanks for taking me along on your hike... Absolutely loved where you took this prompt, with Robert Frost, choosing (presumably) the road less traveled, and finally waking up un-lost. What can I say? Beautiful!

120 Socks said...

Great last line1

Pauline said...

Thanks Tumble - always glad to hear from you

Sioux - thanks for stopping to read and comment. I found your own contribution to magpie very compelling.

Reya - signs abound!

Thanks, Lynn - pleased to have you read and comment

Tess, one can always go back and take the other way, provided one hasn't gone too far...

Thanks, gospel - sometimes my words take me places I an't have imagined...

Joanna Jenkins said...

And THAT is why I'm a "City Girl".
Cheers, jj

Land of shimp said...

Oh my! You aren't likely to convert people to becoming outdoorsy via this post, but you speak the truth.

Also, one of my suite mates in college had to memorize that Frost poem. She did so out loud and often. As a result, we all learned it and took to doing dramatic interpretations while reciting along with her.

So the words, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..." bring out the ham in me to this day. The not very deeply buried ham ;-)

Oink.