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” – Robert Frost
My name is Felicia – Latin for “happiness”.
Although my mother claims that I literally slid from the birth canal with a smile on my face (do spare me the lecture on “gas” being the source of the newborn smile), that was not the genesis of my name. My father liked the actress Felicia Farr, and (after vetoing my Mother’s choice of Melody – Melody Rivers? Sounds like a cowboy movie!) that was that.
Even so, I am quite happy as a matter of habit, or construction, or some such. Even on the rare occasions when I am sad, maudlin, discouraged, it does not take much to lift my mood (think: clouds, running from the sun on a high-blown wind). My blues muscle is weak and underdeveloped (42 muscles for a frown; 7 muscles to make a smile!). Yeah.
Even so, like everyone else, there are always two roads that lie before me. One is sunlit, leading over a hill that rises into the bright blue sky. The other is hemmed in by brambles on either side. No brainer, right? Who would slog through a swamp, prickers pulling at the clothes, bee-stung, hungry, tired, and in need of a Porta-potty when the alternative is to run in the sunlight, roll in the warm green grass, commune with the birds, build castles in the air, and drink wine in the cool, blue shade of a grape arbor?
Maybe there’s a lesson amid the brambles. Maybe there’s some needed truth in the shadows. Maybe the blackbirds and beetles and gnarly crowded oaks have something to whisper in my ear. I peer down that brambled path.
Maybe the sunlight conceals a trap. Of stunted growth, of opportunities lost, of a particular breed of boredom that slowly cements the soul. All this bright light expected; all this daily complacency; all this blatant normalcy. Is it as nourishing as it was when I was a child? Is the dance rote? Is the song a wheel-rut too well-worn? Does the flurry in my belly at the very sight of the bramble, rambled path constitute a neon sign in the shape of a finger pointing in my face, reading: “Hey You! Get the off the sweet path!”
Or, maybe I’m just itching for trouble.