What’s wrong with this picture?
Well, let me tell you…
First of all, that is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a “yellow wood.” I’m not sure exactly what those trees are (something just beginning to leaf out in the spring), but they are not birches; the bark is all wrong. (Seriously, friends, do you think I wouldn’t recognize a member of the Betula genus when I see it? 🙂 ) Where are the “leaves no step had trodden black”? How could it be said of either of these paths that it was “grassy and wanted wear”? Plenty of grass to the sides, sure, but the paths themselves are worn quite well. Where’s the undergrowth? This is nothing like the place Frost describes in his poem.
Also, the implied notion that the poet took both roads… Utter nonsense. Robert Frost wrote that he was, “sorry I could not travel both/And be one traveler.” (This is Robert Frost in a yellow wood we’re talking about, not Harrison Denmark on Bishop Lodge Road. And no, I will not apologize for the obscure fiction reference — or obscure author reference, as is more accurate here.) He didn’t take both roads.
This poetry meme thing looks to me as if someone who sorta kinda remembered reading “The Road Not Taken” in school recalled only that the first line mentioned something about two roads diverging… and looked no further.
A better meme to fit the poem would have contained a sign saying, Pick one.
It’s a lovely photograph, mind you, despite the “poetically incorrect” sign. Makes me want to go running. In my youth, I sometimes went running along the trails just north of the university campus. Even the part that many of my fellow students claimed was impassable due to a fallen tree with a triple trunk — I just threaded my way over and under the trunks and kept going. I have always hated running on pavement, but running on a dirt trail through the woods is quite enjoyable. I wish I could still do it.
I wonder what the weather is like there right now. I recall “a day in mad February, sunny and seventy degrees, with the lake under five inches of ice.” A friend of mine wrote a story in which he mentioned the little bufflehead duck and its larger (domestic duck) friends walking around the shore that day and cussing the way ducks do, angry because they couldn’t swim and fish. I remember seeing frat boys, also on the lakeshore, cussing because they couldn’t fish. The little meadow to the left of the lake, just before the beginning of the hiking trails, stood in shadow most of the day and so was still covered in snow despite the warm weather, and cold wind flowed off the meadow and down the hill toward campus.
A couple of days later, it snowed again, because February is like that.