Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Standing at the Fork in the Road

fork in the road

Today's image was taken last fall while on retreat at St. Mary's Sewanee, which was my fifth sojourn to the mountain in a year for the purpose of resting in silence and solitude.

On my first retreat, I had no idea where either of those roads lead and was a bit afraid to venture up there. On subsequent visits, I grew braver, chose a path and walked it.

Perhaps this scene reminds you, as it did me, of Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Well, folks, I can tell you it made no difference at all, they both led to the exact same place - The Templeton Library. One road was apparently going up and the other for coming back down.

It was a beautiful building with a breathtaking view from the top of the bluff overlooking Winchester, TN. In front is a large and well kept pond with benches for sitting. I've spend many mornings up there by those still waters, praying, meditating and just enjoying nature's beauty.

So, I suppose Yogi Berra was being more than funny when he quipped "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

One of my all time favorite songs, "Watershed" by Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls hits me right where I live in so many ways. Initially I was hooked by the line "every five years or so, I look back on my life and I have a good laugh."

How many of us can identify with that? When I look back on my own in five year increments (which is easy for someone math impaired like me since my birth year ends in 5), I am astounded by how much can change, how much I can change, and how differently things turned out from what I would have expected.

The song is primarily about making choices, and the futily of over-thinking our decisions.

The chorus goes like this:

Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road
You can stand there and agonize
Till your agony's your heaviest load.
You'll never fly as the crow flies, get used to a country mile.
When you're learning to face the path at your pace
Every choice is worth your while.

Today's Texture Tuesday challenge is to depict a "story". The textures on this image were Kim Klassen's "Paper 4" and "Storm." I'm also still enjoying playing around with Topaz Labs to create painterly effects.

One of my projects is to write a memoir about the time I spent in silence and solitude up on that mountain and illustrate it with my photographs. I've pretty much made the decision to make photoart out of all the images, using Photoshop, plug-ins like Topaz Labs and Rad Lab, and textures. But, that's a story for another time.

Over at Beyond Layers we've been having fun discussing our stories in a much, much, shorter form - six words. Smith Magazine is the home of the Six Word Memoir, and people from all over share their stories in six words.

Since I'm not known for my brevity, and I generally use too many words to get a single point across, I do find this quite challenging. Here are a few I tried:

Oh! Now I get it! Duh!

There's a reason for all this.

Don't worry, it will grow back. (inspired by my son Adam)

You can't make this stuff up.
But, I think I'm going to just unapologetically plagarize Ms. Saliers and choose this one as my final answer:

Every choice is worth your while.

Today's Linkups



  1. Beautiful work and thoughts! I like your six words attempts; I'm off to work on mine. I've been letting the items percolate for a day or two.

  2. It's so much fun to watch your journey. I can't even imagine where we'll be at the end of the year after participating in One Little Word and Beyond Layers. ;-> Great representations in you 6 little words. I'm enjoying my last (snowy) day before going back to the world of the working!!

  3. Wow! What great colors! I love your story as well. Looking back in 5 yr increments always makes me laugh-mostly at the things that I worried about 5 yrs ago. Time that was wasted as I really didn't need to do all that worrying. But of course I still do-cuz that's what I do! ( I don't do brevity either...)
    Love your photo though. Have a great week!

  4. The photo is amazing! and Oh what a beautiful story! I loved every word and I love your blog and loved your "About Me" page. You are in one of my most favorite places in the world! Any place in Tennessee. All of my family are from there and my heart is right up there in the mountains. I can understand how incredible it must be to walk along and take in the views and even meditate there. I often wonder why the air feels so different in Tennessee more than any other place :)

    I loved your comment and yes I bet that was a job doing your whole house ceilings! Yes I am on a mission and I will get that awful stuff down if it kills me lol, well hopefully it won't do that. I didn't even think about the popcorn ceiling when I agreed with my hubby to purchase the house! Now I wish we would have waited, but it's better to have no regrets now :)

    1. Sandy, Tennessee is a great place to live. I used to travel quite a bit for work and visited some pretty cool places, but when my plane started circling the airport and I saw those green trees I was so glad to live where I do. You are right...the air smells different here and I love the mountains.

  5. I find myself always saying "There's a reason for everything" too. My Mom had some good ones too and one of them was "It's good if you're hungry" lol, now I find myself saying that one too.

  6. oh, wow! this looks like a painting! wonderful color!

    i came via kk's texture tuesday.


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