On Robert Frost’s Trail I Caught a Passing Glimpse
By Amy C. Braun

The Robert Frost Interpretive Trail, along Route 125, is a one-mile loop near the
mountain town of Ripton, Vermont.  Because Robert Frost spent a great deal of time
in the local woods, the trail boasts signs displaying some of his poems.  As hikers
pause and reflect on his words in the Green Mountain Wilderness, they connect his
poetry to the nature that was his inspiration.

Nearby is the Mountain campus of Middlebury College, which hosts the
Bread Loaf
Writer’s conference. Every summer, writers flock from all over the world to the
oldest writing conference in the nation, walking and writing where many famous
writers have written and walked before them.  The Robert Frost Trail is a Vermont

In mid-April the temperature was above 70 degrees, and there were still some
patches of snow in the shady areas of woods.  I went hiking with my friend, her
daughter, and my two young sons.  With picnic supplies and an old quilt, we
followed three children onto the trail.  

The first poem,
The Pasture, was posted near a bog where the trail continued across
the wetness on a bridge.  My boys ran over the bridge and continued around a
bend, out of sight.  I wanted to stop to read and interpret the poem, but I couldn’t
see the children so I walked on, laughing to my friend, “I am always on their tail
when we are on this trail.”

Ready to shake off a New England winter and stick our toes into chilly water, we
followed the sound of the high-running brook.  The roar filled our ears as deeply as
the melted snow from the nearby Green Mountains filled the brook.  We hadn’t yet
stopped for our picnic.   

"Come In"

Before crossing another bridge to enter the forest, we came upon Frost’s poem
Come In, an invitation from the trees to enter into their coolness.  We crossed the
bridge and stopped because we came upon a “T” in the trail: two directions to
choose from.  Logically,
The Road Not Taken poem was posted right there and
carved into the wooden post below it was an arrow pointing right.  

“A right pointing arrow makes me want to go left.”  My friend said.  “I want to
follow the other route because that would really be the road not taken.”

We chuckled.  “If that’s what the poem is saying.”

The Road Not Taken

I recently attended an event in Stowe, Vermont called “The Turning Point,”
sponsored by
Vermont Public Radio  where some commentators shared their
impressions of a “Turning Point” theme.  

One reader shared his unique interpretation of Frost’s
The Road Not Taken.  He
said that Frost was not advising us to take the road less traveled.  He insisted that
Frost, at the end of his life, was simply reflecting on the choices he didn’t make.  

Now, I wanted to form my own opinion but I couldn’t because I had to continue on
the path following my children.  

We mothers darted after our children, who followed the arrow not only right, but
right on into the woods off the trail.  Although the children didn’t read the poem,
they followed the arrow discovering a cleared grove with a secret wooden bench
where we had an opportunity to see a snake eating its lunch, slowly digesting the
food bulging in his belly.  We discovered him only because we had followed the
children onto a road not usually taken.

Back on the regular trail, we found a spot near a smaller stream and spread out the
quilt to have lunch.  The children climbed in and out of the water and ate slowly.  
They threw rocks and climbed under the bridge.  They played barefoot and
squished their toes into the first mud of the season as we watched.  Other hikers
passed by; we exchanged polite greetings.

We then packed and walked to the next spot, and the next and the next.  I tried
desperately to read and interpret each Frost poem as I passed.  I would read a line
or two and then look up to see the children had moved on.  

Finally, below a climbing tree near an open meadow I had an opportunity to read
the words of Robert Frost slowly, while the children climbed the tree.   The poem
communicated my exact thoughts about traveling on a trail, or anywhere else, with

“Heaven gives its glimpses
Only to those not in position to look too close”

In college, I had learned enough about Frost to know that he wrote about things in
nature as symbols of life, aging and death.  He used seasons to show the passage of
time and birch trees to show that we all eventually lean and peel and break apart.  I
never thought I would grow older when I first read his work, but now I am a parent
and see it through different eyes.  

As an aspiring writer, I am always on other writer’s tails, reading their work and
interpreting their thoughts, following their lead.  The great writers wrote it first and
of course they said it best, especially one like Robert Frost.  

Reading and writing whenever I am able to, (in glimpses, stolen moments), I am in
the middle of the most intense program of my life right now:  Motherhood.    

Children as Poetry

Children are poetry.  Children, the greatest free verse poets, lead the way.  They
show us the beauty in rocks or leaves or old wooden bridges.  They are our
sparkling brief moments that will become distant memories.  I follow behind my
little poets learning how to find loveliness in a chilly brook, a birch tree’s bark or a
snake eating its lunch.  I am in training and trying to keep up with greatness.  

Heaven gave me a collection of glimpses through the eyes of the experts that day.  I
was lucky because it was only spring… I can hardly wait to see what I will learn by
the end of the summer!     

About the author: Amy C. Braun lives in Vermont in the heart of the Green Mountains.  She
has a husband, two sons and a tough cat.  Amy has been teaching elementary school for 12
years. For five years, she has been teaching at the nation’s oldest operating schoolhouse.  She
was granted Master Teaching award in 2000 and the status of Who’s Who in American
Women in 2007.   She makes purses called “MyBLAGZ” (a blog in a bag) and sells them in
local book shops with signed copies of some of her Blog inside.  She was a finalist in the Ten
Ten Fiction contest in 2007 for her short story “Invitation Divination” and has recently
completed what she calls her “first novel.”  Amy is a member of The League of Vermont
Robert Frost's Trail


Click here for your FREE
weekly newsletter! (And
get 12 FREE desktop

Bring the heart of
New Hampshire into your
home with beautiful,
affordable, high-quality
New England prints.
Visit our
New Hampshire Gallery

Visit our
Marketplace for
everything New England!

More Travel Info:
New Hampshire
Subscribe Today -- It's Free!
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
©The Heart of New England online magazine
...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
Contact| The Heart of New England HOME | Search

Click Here to Get Your FREE Weekly Newsletter Today!
Join us on
FaceBook or
for exclusive updates
on travel specials,
& more!
The Road Not Taken...