The Unused Path

I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
— Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”

Morning fog began to fade.
I meandered down a woodland path.
Truly it was one no one would take.
Warnings unheeded fell on deaf ears.
It got treacherous with rock and fallout.
Mud pits and brambles suckered me with no escape.

Ten furlongs down the path I saw a gate.
The gate was rickety and worn.
White flakes fluttered in the breeze revealing aged grey.
Hinges screamed with dry oil.
The fence dilapidated was no barrier.
Within the fence there was a garden.

Three rose bushes stood in bud.
Each was a different vibrant, vivid hue despite dead leaves and vines.
I had no shovel, no rake, no shears.
Yet I could see the disarray was damaging.
I kicked, I pulled, I scooped with my bare hands, I twisted to breakage.
By noon I had paths cleared between the gate and each bush, between every bush.

I pulled off dead buds and dry  leaves.
I snapped a stem or two.
I pulled away petals marred by worms, rust, and decay.
I rubbed my hands and poked and prodded out dead thorns.
By sunset I was done.
The garden gate closed on a secret world much better than before.

At dusk my path ended at a crossroads.
It was the carriage path.
Worn and well trod it comforted and conducted the masses.
Once again I was back within the maddening crowd.
The secret of my garden warmed my heart.
The hidden roses opened in my dreams, each with hope for a life of joyful times to come.

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