Excerpt From Chapter 10
I had come to a crossroads. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I could not travel both. Like Robert Frost, I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. It is the road in part chosen for me; and, in a larger part, it is the road I chose for myself. This is the road along which I have continued to travel with confidence and the knowledge that it was the right choice for me. My doctor’s advice, both medical and personal, was that I continue my education in the way to which I had become accustomed.
Excerpt From Chapter 13
Somewhere, somehow, I knew I had experienced that same situation before. As I thought back over the storm, I could hear the thunder rumble, but I also heard the frightened shriek of piccolos and flutes. I heard the low, throbbing notes that only double basses can make, and I reexperienced the fear-laden instability of shifting chords and dissonant harmonies. Eventually, as the thunder in the low strings grew softer and less intense, I heard the tentative notes of the clarinet followed by the stronger answer of the horns. The orchestral harmonies had already told me that the danger had passed, since everything was coming to a full and safe resolution, or harmonic conclusion. Then came a theme played in the strings that was so perfect and so much a tender celebration of life that, as I realized what it was, I was overwhelmed and humbled to have heard what I considered nature’s reenactment of Beethoven’s sixth symphony, the Pastoral Symphony!
Beethoven had captured the spirit of a thunderstorm from the awareness of its approach, through the onslaught, and finally to its peaceful conclusion. That night’s adventure had blended the past and the present into a shimmering recollection, and I knew that it would become a profound memory that would stay with me always.
Excerpt From Chapter 14
As we drove out of the driveway, I said goodbye to the redwood modern house where I had lived for the past fifteen years. This house and woods had been my home since I was a toddler taking those tentative steps into a world filled with sunshine and dandelions and things I couldn’t see until I bumped into them. I said farewell to the stream and the footbridge, to the large hickory tree and the leaning ash tree. Red and orange flowers were still blooming in my nasturtium bed, and I knew that within a month, the sumac leaves would be scarlet, and within a few weeks after that, my favorite maple tree at the top of the driveway would turn red. This was a final farewell, for I was never to live in that house again. I would be elsewhere, making friends with different trees and other flowers and accepting new challenges in my life. I was aware that meeting challenges was something for which, from the beginning of my existence, I had been carefully schooled, and I knew, unquestionably, that this was a task for which I had been unusually well prepared.
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