The Way Through the Woods

Yesterday the Catholic Leadership Institute at Thomas More College embarked on a service project to reopen a walking path on a colonial road near a retreat center in New Hampshire.  A wall of brush, brambles, and weeds confronted us in the beginning . . . With great patience, zeal, and energy the students forged a way for people to walk and meditate.  As I was making hamburger patties and slicing watermelon for the dinner, I was reminded of this poem--appropriate or not?  We resurrected the road!


THEY shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.
--Rudyard Kipling



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