Miles to Go Before I Sleep

Stopping by woods on a snowy evening

Lovely Dark and Deep Woods – Makes me want to stop by woods on a snowy evening

“How many of you wanted to ignore your alarm this morning?”

Every student’s hand went up. And so did mine.

“Right. That’s what I figured you would say. I’m sure each of you have your reasons for getting up and coming to class today. However you break it down, ultimately, each of us felt obligated to come to class and get out work done. It’s about responsibility.”

These words were part of the conversation I had with my high school class about Robert Frost’s poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

While the bed is not the same as the woods referred to in the poem and Frost clearly meant to appreciate nature, the students understood what I meant and could relate it to Frost’s poem. In fact, a number of them noted that Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening was their favorite of the ones we learned this term.

From there we discussed responsibility verses relaxation. They are old enough to understand and appreciate commitments. Many of them complained of being tired.

Did you know this famous American poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening was written in 1922? Why is that date relevant?

Well, how often does it seem that we in our generation are overwhelmed by our obligations?  We wonder why conveniences such as the microwave, computer and cell phone have made our lives more filled, rushed, and stressful. We yearn for a time when things were simpler.

Yet Frost’s aged poem which takes place in the presumably quaint outskirts of a small town, focus on the narrator’s inability to rest and appreciate nature. No, he must move on and get back to town and his obligations. He has work to do.

Is his time period so different from ours?

This poem is on my mind not simply because I taught it to a class this week.  But because I am struggling to feel on top of things.  If only I had 25, 26, 27 hours, maybe then I could finish…

No, that’s not it.

I go to bed after 12 and am up at 5:30 (half the times with my son in my bed but that’s another story). I know I need more sleep, but I can’t get it.

I’ve tried.

The only way I fall asleep these days during the workweek is if I am exhausted. My mind races as I review have to’s and obligations.  If I would spend more time working on completing these tasks and less time thinking…

Yet, it seems completion of one task makes me recognize two more that need to be accomplished. So, I think more. And worry. And concern myself.

I want to stop in those The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   woods [that] are lovely, dark, and deep,

Yet, I have much to do.

In fact, I have miles to go before I sleep.

Photo Credit: Mrs. MMK. Great photographer – isn’t she!!!!

17 thoughts on “Miles to Go Before I Sleep

  1. Mrs. MMK is a great photographer! Beautiful picture to go with a great post! Sometimes I wish for more time in the day, and then I give up and re-prioritize! Despite the fact that I feel it all must get done, those are all my internal deadlines, my internal struggles, and I have to learn to let go of them. I won’t win any awards for meeting a deadline that doesn’t exist. In fact, in trying to meet that deadline, I could be missing out on better things, I could be making a life instead of just trying to manage one.

    PS – no, I don’t know how to play Minecraft!

  2. I suspect every generation feels this way, that there is too much to do and not enough time to do it. Maybe not all members, but enough. I don’t know how to accurately compare, but it does feel like we are in a time where it is harder to give ourselves permission to just sit.

  3. Oh Larry, I know how you feel. This pregnancy thing keeps me up awake at night as well. How about drinking some chamomile tea and/or eat a banana? That seems to help me sometimes.

  4. I often feel like I have miles to go before I got to sleep as well, though I get much more sleep than you apparently! I often think that all these things that are supposed to make it easier for us actually make us more stressed. I rely greatly on my phone, but I also thus feel obligated to stay on top of social media, and texts, and people’s blogs and it’s very hard to manage what seems like a second “virtual” life in addition to your REAL life. Especially when that life is also split by spouse, worker, parent, etc. It’s a wonder how any of us getting any sleep!!

  5. Thanks for sharing your wife’s photo. I hope you’ll use some more, she’s really good.
    I’m with you about the time stuff. My favorite expression is “I have a 1000 things and 5 minutes to do them in.” I’m looking forward to spring break, it’ll give me an excuse to stop work for a couple of days.

  6. I hear you on the lack of sleep. I know I need more, but never manage it. I keep thinking it will come when the kids are a bit older. Not sure though if I’m delusional. Probably.

    • I like to blame it all on my kids. While they are certainly part of the reason, there is more to it than that.

  7. Stressed as I can be, sleep almost never eludes me. I can sleep anywhere. 😉 Not sure if that’s a good thing! But yes, I do feel like things can never get done and there is so much to worry about. When I read the Little House series with my daughter last year, I felt like those things really haven’t changed all that much, just modern conveniences.

    • I fall asleep in odd places and times.
      I do agree with your last point – at least to some degree. Modern conveniences have simply changed what we are busy with.

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