As he was returning to his home from the market on a winter solstice, Robert Frost, long before he was a celebrated poet, pulled to the side of a snowy road and wept. He had sold very little at the market that day and knew he could not provide for his family much longer. This, he knew, would be especially felt at Christmastime. He felt frustration and shame. The incident inspired him to write one of my favorite Frost poems.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
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.
As our world grapples with a deadly global pandemic and social unrest following the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmad Aubrey (and others before them) we may find ourselves to be troubled, weary, and overwhelmed. In recent days, I have found comfort from this poem because it reminds me to pause, reflect, and even lament, and then find the internal resources to move forward.
I look forward to seeing you this Friday on our regular LA5 meeting Zoom call. Following that, a joint meeting of the current and incoming boards will be held to consider our way forward as a club in these challenging times.
President, Rotary Club of Los Angeles
2019 - 2020