I don't want to cut this too short. Let me pull the camera back and look at that fork in the road from a distance, in the larger context of the speckled and twining world. It could be that the fork will disappear,. or that I will see it to be but one of many interstices in a network, so that it is impossible to say which line is the main part and which is the fork.
Dillard is talking about choices, those times in life when you stand at a crossroads. Now, we all know what Robert Frost did when he faced a fork in the road: he took the road less traveled. Dillard, on the other hand, takes several steps back, to try to get a wider view of her situation. Instead of a crossroads, she sees a network. Everything connected to everything else.
Choices are not easy. Especially choices that have profound repercussions. Recently, I changed jobs. Even though I was returning to a job that I knew well (I'd done it for close to 17 years), I was still unsure about my decision. Like Dillard, I wish I'd had the ability to step back to see the wider picture. Instead, I just saw that less traveled road, full of rocks and leaves and skittering mice.
Now, after I've made my choice and walked down that road for a little while, I know that I made the right decision. I'm happier. Less stressed. Since I started, I haven't had a bad day. I've had busy days, but nothing that made me want to go home and open my liquor cabinet. I stood down my fears, and I'm in a better situation because of it.
I don't want to get all philosophical here. Not gonna give a lecture on difficult choices and roads. If I had the choice to go back in time and somehow change all of the painful moments in my life, I would. Difficult life experiences just plain suck. Deaths of loved ones. Marital strife. Addictions. I don't think any of my disciples reading this post would argue that these things are enriching or necessary.
However, the shitty times in my life have given me some perspective. I appreciate my wife and kids more because, at one point, my family was on the road to being not a family. When one of my siblings piss me off, I forgive a little easier, because loss may be just around the bend. I am a stronger, better person because of these challenges I have faced.
So, there will always be forks in the road, choices to make, hurdles to overcome. That's life. As Dillard says, it's a speckled and twining world.
Saint Marty hopes there aren't too many forks in his near future, unless they are coupled with cheesecake.