Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Seeing the trees in spite of the forest

I'm sifting through decades of stuff. Family stuff. Kid stuff. Old records...the tax kind and the vinyl kind...
Old books. Old shoes. Old furniture.
Old ways.
Old memories.

etsy seller Elizabeth Urquhart

I think of Robert Frost....very often...his poems, his words....saunter across my mind.
His poem, Miles to Go (actually called Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening), is a favorite because it gives me energy, hope and keeps me going when I really want to say "Oh forget it doesn't matter!"
Art, and nature, always revive my spirits.

When Robert Frost was a farmer he would load a wagon and hitch a horse and clop to town to sell his produce. One time, he needed to sell to afford presents for Christmas (who can't relate to that?).
He sold nothing on a cold snowy day and had to return home.
So sad, so overwhelmed with helplessness, he stopped his wagon near a snowy field of birch trees and cried and cried. His horse shook his neck and tinkled his horse bells, and Mr. Frost gathered his wits and carried on.
Oh, lordy, how many times have I despaired ....the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel seems, too often, to have been vanquished.

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.

Born Robert Lee Frost on March 26, 1874 in San Francisco, his family moved to Lawrence Mass. in spring 1885. His grandfather offered to take in the Frost family after Robert's father died. After graduation from Lawrence High, Frost attended Harvard for 2 years.
His grandfather bought a farm in Derry, New Hampshire, where Robert farmed for nine years, writing his poems whenever he could spare some time. The farm didn't prosper so he worked as an English teacher in New Hampshire.

In 1915 Frost bought another farm in New Hampshire and kept writing, and teaching, and lecturing. Today, this home is preserved as a museum.
He taught at Amherst College in Massachusetts and his poems became famous and profitable.

stamp picture from

In 1924, he won the first of his many Pulitzer Prizes and became one of America's most beloved poets. Later in life, in 1940, Frost purchased a home in Florida...yes, the Winter Home!

He died in 1963 , and is buried in Bennington, Vermont. The epitaph on his gravestone is from one of his poems- "I had a lover's quarrel with the world."

Yes, Mr. Frost. Me too.