Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Rural Missouri Property in Winter

Rural Missouri Property in 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.

Robert Frost, “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”

The image posted above is the property behind a friend’s ranch where I stayed as a guest a few winters ago while spending Christmas holidays visiting my parents in the St. Louis area.  I stood in his kitchen and looked out through the glass patio doors at the beautiful snow across his sprawling woods, and worked on this quick watecolor sketch, so I guess I could say I was painting en plein air, though I was indoors, and warm.

I’m closing out a beautiful, though cold weekend (my furnace has been out of commission since Thursday–supposed to be repaired tomorrow), seated next to an electrice space heater (which is doing its job), working on an Andrew Wyeth power point for tomorrow’s art history classes.  While reading through my Wyeth materials this weekend, I came across a conversation he had with Robert Frost concerning the poem of which I’ve posted a portion above.  Wyeth assumed Frost had been standing in the snow when he came up with this idea, and that the poem had required long periods to compose. Frost surprised him with these words:

Andy, I’ll tell you about that.  I’d been writing a very complicated, long-drawn-out poem, almost a story type of poem entitled “The Death of the Hired Man.”  I had finished at two o’clock in the morning.  It was a hot August night, and I was exhausted. I walked out on the porch of my house and looked at this mountain range.  It came to me in a flash!  I wrote it on an evelope I had in my pocket, and I only changed one word.  It came out just like that.

About an hour ago, I was prompted on Facebook that it was snowing in south Arlington.  Though cold inside, I wrapped up and dashed outside in genuine joy, walking through my yard, out into the street, and then out into my backyard, looking up in wonder at the night sky filled with those beautiful flakes.  I just wanted to bring my coffee outdoors and spend time walking around in it.  But alas, I have promises to keep, a power point to finish, sleep to accomplish, and classes waiting for me tomorrow.  Promises to keep.  And miles to go before I sleep.  But I’ll still feel this gratitude.  It is a beautiful night, capping a beautiful weekend.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am never really alone.

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One Response to “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”

  1. Martha Keim-St. Louis Says:

    Reblogged this on Martha Keim-St. Louis' blog and commented:
    I thought I knew how to paint. this guy really does


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