Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
One day last week, I stood outside the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel on Kalakaua Avenue. I waited for travelers to pass, children in strollers, women in straw hats, men sporting nothing but wet trunks and a surfboard under their arms. “How long of a walk is it to the Waikiki Aquarium,” I asked Skip, a valet with 30 years service. “Fifteen to 20 minutes,” he said, and I turned right, joining the sea of surfers, joggers, honeymooners, diners and travelers speaking Japanese, German and American English. It was the perfect walk.
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
The next night, I found myself outside the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel on Kalakaua Avenue again, and, again, I paused to watch humanity stroll by—a woman, husband, grandmother, runner, dogwalker, child and surfer leaving possibly the same wet footprints as the night before. This time, I turned left, proving you can come back another day and take the “other” road.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I strolled down Kalakaua Avenue passed the always packed California Pizza Kitchen and Apple store. Through the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center to avoid a sprinkling of rain. Across Lewers Road and passed Yard House and Roy’s restaurants in Waikiki Beach Walk. Down Kalia Road fronting another Outrigger hotel—Outrigger Reef by the Beach. I cut across the grass on the grounds of the Hawaii Army Museum and left the energy of Waikiki behind. I sidestepped the busy beach volleyball courts at Ft. DeRussey Beach Park. Then, I followed the concrete path adjacent to a wide, swath of white sand and whisper quiet surf lapping the shores. I passed musicians covering 1980s tunes at a bar and grill, and I walked toward the setting sun. I strolled by Duke Kahanamoku Beach and to the Ala Wai Boat Harbor where my friend Pat lives on a sailboat. It was the perfect walk.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I am telling this with a sigh a week hence. Two roads diverged in sunny Waikiki, and I—I took both. Both! Take that Mr. Poet--Robert Frost. The busy one where I could walk with all of Waikiki’s wonderful, if sometimes strange, characters. And the quiet one—like a walking meditation with an ocean of peace invading my bones and knocking a few points off my blood pressure.
Who says you can’t take both roads in life?