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.
Robert Frost, 1922
The Poetry Foundation hosts a video of Robert Frost reading the poem here. The way he reads “The woods are lovely, dark and deep” is breathtaking. He seems to slip out of his rote recitation for a moment, his voice touching on something of the feeling of that moment that inspired the poem all those years ago when he was a farmer on the way home one night, pausing in the woods, affected by that primeval beauty.
I post this because I drove with some friends past Derry in New Hampshire on Sunday, where Frost wrote this poem. Passing so very quickly by the woods there along the highway, I thought (how could you not?!) of that line “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep”, because they were. I’m looking forward to a snowy night walk of my own this winter, here in New England.
I apologize to you, readers, for not having been updating this blog for quite some time, and for even neglecting email responses. It was a surprisingly busy first semester of seminary, with more extracurricular busyness than expected. Though it’s been a wonderful experience, it’s time to get back to the grindstone and stop neglecting responsibilities. I believe this is where I kiss all free time goodbye, essentially. So there, watch it fly away, with a little tear in its eye for an old friend now lost to it….
So! Because writing is something that I’ll be doing for the forseeable future, I intend to be posting something at least once a day, whether long or short, whether of my own concoction, or parroting what others have written, or some combination of the two. The intellectual life, after a certain level, is a conversation, one held between oneself and those whom one is reading and digesting. The act of internalization involves a certain diplomacy, a dance of acceptance and rejection, of amelioration and emphasis, by which one transforms information into learning, learning into intelligence, and intelligence into wisdom. It’s an activity, not a passivity, reading, if properly done. I intend to pull out all the stops, not pull punches, realize potential, whatever your favorite cliché is, et cetera. It should be an interesting thing.
So there we go. Stay tuned, as they say.