promises to keep

I have heard from my friends that during Christmas they never know what kinds of gifts to give to their fathers. This was never an issue for me.

My dad only wanted one thing at Christmas: a poem. He would urge us to memorize a poem, usually of his choosing, that we would stand and deliver on Christmas Day. I have very fond memories of staying up late on Christmas Eve and cramming lines of “Hamlet’s Soliloquy” and “The Road Not Taken” into my mind. I doubt the deliveries were ever perfect, but the smile, applause, and big hug from our dad made it all worth it.

It wasn’t until later that we learned that his father, our Grandpa, who passed away when I was very young, was the source of this poetic obsession. He asked the same thing of my dad and his siblings in their youth. Among his favorite poems was Robert Frost’s masterpiece entitled “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

Now, I have never been much for running, but for whatever reason, cold-weather running speaks volumes to me. There is something so mystical about the crunching snow, the deafening silence, and oppressive darkness that draws me out into the streets on cold winter mornings. Maybe I love facing the elements; maybe I love the feeling of returning to a warm home highlighted in string lights. To be honest, it’s all of it.

But even on those magical mornings, running is just hard. It’s hard to go out and back again, and inevitably, there is a point on every run where I face the decision to stop and walk home or continue pushing through the struggle and finish strong. A few years ago, when my now five-year-old son was in his crib, my goal was always to be back before he was up. There were mornings where I made it, flying the whole way and mornings where I fell short. But I always made the promise to him that I would be there.

When those training runs get so rough, I instinctively turn to the fragments of memorized poems that seem to float around my head, and the last four lines of the Robert Frost classic are my go-to in the winter.

 

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.

 

At this time of year, there are so many highs and lows that come along with being a partner, parent, co-worker, friend, and the many other labels that we carry. May we all remember to make promises and keep those promises.

From everyone here at Rhone, we wish you a warm and sincere Happy Holidays. It is our hope that this message inspires you to continue moving forever forward.

 

 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

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.

 

 

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