The Falls – The Trial By Existence

Interestingly I find people who don’t like Robert Frost, maybe its because he was a New Englander, they are hard to get to know, and even harder to understand, I think its the winters that keeps them bottled up inside. Even if you are not a fan you must read -‘The Trial By Existence‘. His words are mystical, inspired, and in it he reveals many things about our journey here on earth, and the preparation for it.

This then leads to the thoughts regarding the subject line, The Falls … one of the most powerful scenes in film I have ever watched is in ‘Last of the Mohicans’ where after being pursued for hours Hawkeye and Cora are hiding in a cutout behind a waterfall, they know they will be found, and over the cacophony of the waters, he cries out to her – I will find you! – and leaps through the cascade of waters into the river below; to me this symbolizes Frost’s Trial by Existence … “the obscuration upon the earth”, I think James Fenimore Cooper knew this as well.

“But always God speaks at the end:
One thought in agony of strife
The bravest would have by for friend,
The memory that he chose the life;
But the pure fate to which you go
Admits no memory of choice,
Or the woe were not earthly woe
To which you give the assenting voice.” *

Or the woe were not earthly woe … ah, and there’s the rub; if Hawkeye was fully aware of what stood before him, what would be the reason to leap into that waterfall, if emerging on the other side, he knew exactly where to look to find her, exactly what the consequences of his actions would be, what would be the purpose of the journey, of the effort, of the reason for being?

In light of Frost’s depiction of our journey here on Earth, should we ever feel forsaken, or ever wonder why this time, feeling, burden, or joy, has come to us, we might well consider that we had long ago chosen it, seen the very life set out, the choices we could make, the errors possible along the way, and still we gave ‘assenting voice’ to all we would know in this life “Heroic in its nakedness, Against the uttermost of earth”

The same forces that helped Hawkeye in his leap through the falls, and to survive the current at the bottom into a new world, a new life, a new beginning, are ever present to every one of us. We think we are alone, taught to make it on our own. Yet truly, we are always guided, and we should listen with ever finer ears, see with ever clearer vision, feel with an ever softer touch, until we know the truth of this –

“Nothing but what we somehow chose;
Thus are we wholly stripped of pride
In the pain that has but one close
Bearing it crushed and mystified.” *

* & ” – Robert Frost – from The Trial By Existence