Thinking of stopping by woods on a snowy evening as Arrowhead and Jesse’s Cove were cleared of obstacles yesterday and today. We cleaned limbs off of the Greenbrier River Trail from Watoga Crossing to Workman Road.
This will be the last trail report until early February. I take this time each year to visit friends and family scattered about. Before leaving I want to share one of my very favorite poems. It is a wonderful poem by Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. It has a particular significance to me. When I was a young man a good many decades ago I lived on an old farm in the hills of southeastern Ohio. I had an aged Quarter Horse named Lady who had lost her zest for speed and spunkiness some years earlier. She was nonetheless steady and dependable.
There was a deep woods between my barn and a small village called Lore City. It was 2 miles on an old abandoned road that wove through the woods. My custom on Sundays was to ride Lady to a small café. It was run by two sisters in their 70s. The café even had an old metal tie-up post out front. One of the sisters was a bit grumpy and if you tried to change your order, even before she left your table, you were likely to get a slap on the back of your hand. Her idiosyncrasies aside, she made the absolute best Swiss steak and mashed potatoes ever shoveled into a human mouth. And this does not even take into account the wondrous variety of homemade pies proudly displayed in one of those old pie safes situated on the counter. We’re talking fruit pies as well as the cream styles mind you. So a slight slap on the hand was a small price to pay for the sumptuous fare that awaited me.
Yes, my sweet memories are in part based on the food. In addition, also because I made this weekly pilgrimage on Lady every month of the year. And I still fondly recall many rides through those quiet winter woods in the snow as Lady made her sure-footed way back to the warmth of her stall.
Stay warm, hike often and every time the mood strikes you !
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.
By Robert Frost