Wednesday, August 06, 2008


The road not taken veers off to the left behind me, choked with rhododendrons and mountain laurels. It's not that I never noticed it before. I passed this way coming home every day for eleven years of my life. I rode my bicycle past it a hundred times each summer as my sister and I raced around the block. Our world was bounded by this circular cul-de-sac in the wooded slopes of Mount Misery. I'd never though about it much, that the road might lead somewhere, or have a name. We merely passed it by and Halloween weed walk right past without a word from Mrs. Merchant to the Acker's house where my sister's best friend lived. If I had know the crumbling tar and gravel lead to some other place, I would have gone there, and I'm sure I went everywhere else that I could have. Growing up as I did in an old stone house surrounded by trees made the impulse to explore very strong. I wandered around the old Krup house, abandoned since his death, and found the secret garden in the back, burgeoning with daffodils and tulips planted by his wife I guess, many years before my birth. I wandered in the thick laurel and dogwood that sloped away behind the mulberry tree in our back yard. There was an old oak there whose roots curled around to make a basin lined with moss and even in the dry summer months this pool sparkled with dark water I was afraid to touch. Far bellow that I followed the ravine down to where it opened out onto the harbor beach and an artesian spring trickled out across the sand next to a weathered stone wall where some one had built a bonfire some time in the past month.
I was always alone then, there seems no reason I would have not gone up that road. I can't remember any thing about it except the parting glance I had just before we moved away. I asked myself where does that go?
Now years later I can see what I did not know. The maps reveal that little has changed over all this time, I can see how different my life would have been If I had known the short cut to Diane's house. But then would that first kiss and that last good by have been as sweet, if I could have gotten there in just ten minutes instead of an hours ride up to the ridge and then around the golf course?

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