Walking the dog

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Frost wrote the poem in June 1922 at his house in Shaftsbury, Vermont. He had been up the entire night writing the long poem “New Hampshire” and had finally finished when he realized morning had come. He went out to view the sunrise and suddenly got the idea for “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. He wrote the new poem “about the snowy evening and the little horse as if I’d had a hallucination” in just “a few minutes without strain.”

Though it is not always a predictable assignment, the ambition of youth is at the very least an inspiring projection. From the distant advantage of old age – looking across a valley from a hilltop – the discernibility is no more clear but the view is seemingly identifiable because it is erased of the overwhelming detail which must necessarily attend the outcome. Mark Anthony rose from the ranks of cohorts to become a general in the Roman Empire.

It is my personal recipe of progress that I am able to identify the binary schemes of life. Blending the two affords a palatable concoction, tranquillizing for example haughty initiative with gentle acceptance. I prefer to see it as a calculated balance not unlike realizing small but assured gains. Yet the persistence is the denomination of the gain.  Wherein lies success? By what standard shall we measure our achievement? Do we understand the alliance of leadership and supporters?

Some are content to retire to the country “with their book and bottle”.  Others will not rest ’til they’ve traveled to Mars. Quite honestly I am uncertain which constitutes the favourable victory. I do not however diminish my own absorption as a rural practitioner. Indeed it is for me the height of reward! Perhaps it is mere complacency in the eyes of others but I value it “without evasion, equivocation or mental reservation of any kind”.

Freemasonry is a progressive science consisting of different Degrees, calculated for the more gradual advancement in the knowledge of its mysteries; according to the progress we make, we limit or extend our inquiries, and in proportion to our capacities, we attain to a greater or lesser degree of perfection.

The tools of fulfillment are naturally diverse – though I am reminded of the insight I derived years ago from an enquiry, “Quelle est votre perspective?” which nicely illuminates that we’re all looking at the same thing though perhaps from a different angle. Whatever one’s aspect in life it is imperative to keep in mind the elemental ingredients. And while there are additives which family, friends and loved ones are only too willing to impart, the ultimate decision lies with one alone.

And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.