Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Roads Diverged : Vision Clear

Rocky Path in the Woods by Frances Gearhart
A few days ago, I stumbled into the truly fantastic Pasadena Museum of California Art and upon a current exhibition showcasing Frances Gearhart's color block prints. A veritable jewel box of Arts and Crafts-era renderings bursting with color, I was instantly smitten, devouring the exhibit as the story of both Gearhart's life and creative development unfolded simultaneously. Reaching the backmost wall, I read a description of her later pieces: "Her vision becomes clear." Four words, but their profundity struck me in a most sincere way. Vision, direction, clarity. All words tied to purpose, all indicative of an inner knowing. The words used to describe Gearhart's evolution from sketch artist to accomplished artiste connote a cohesive conceptualization, an umbrella under which to arrange one's life's work.

It brings to mind Robert Frost's timeless homage to path-picking. Though the road may get rocky, and the destination too hazy to make out, there is honor in forging ahead on one's own.

Whether or not we decisively select a direction, we are still making a choice. We either let our path be defined by the default settings, or we see those diverging roads and become active participants in our destinies. The world is wide, our options are many and a little direction makes all the difference.

Forward, march.

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

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.
- The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (1920)

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