The Road Not Taken

When is big too big? When is good enough ever good or enough? Is one a collector, an occasional hobbyist, or a craftsman. How often have you started a new layout because the old one just wasn’t what you were looking for? How many times have you found yourself walking into the room and looking at your end result and not connected with its story?

How many times have you asked yourself these questions? Perhaps like me, far to many times to count or even want to count. I have reached Robert Frost proverbial “two roads diverged…” moment. I am leaving the world of collecting, of the need to fill my basement with a model train layout, it isn’t for me. I invite you to read Robert Frost’s poem, “Road Not Taken”, and think about some of the questions above and your answers.

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;         5
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,         10
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.         15
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 leaving the world of the model railroader to become a craftsman and a story teller because the end result will make a difference to me.

If you would like, please join me in this adventure. I suggest you start at The Blue Ox Millworks first, a short video but ten minutes well spent.

4 thoughts on “The Road Not Taken

  1. Interesting. This goes beyond “What to model” to “How to engage with the hobby” – much like what Mike Cougill has been doing on his blog and through The Missing Conversation series of digital books.
    It may be early days for you still, and I’m sure you plan to write more about this, so I won’t ask the question… but I am looking forward to reading about how, having articulated this desire, you plan to apply it to the hobby.
    I’ve been going through a similar thought process for years. Each layout I’ve built has been simpler than the last (although not always smaller). For example, every time I build a new layout, it’s had fewer turnouts than the layout before it. Fewer structures, too – set in more realistic arrangements and with more open space between them.
    I still have a collection of locomotives and rolling stock from past layouts – or from layouts planned but never realized. And I’m not yet ready to dispose of those. But as my current layout gets closer to completion, I’m feeling more comfortable with the idea of doing so.
    – Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64

  2. Trevor,

    Thank you for your comments. The joy in model railroading for me has always missed something. One night while taking a break from C modules I sat down and read part of Peter Kazer’s “Narrow Gauge Railway Modelling” it came to me. I want my layout to tell a story, and I want the work I put into each component to be the very best work I can do. I want to work at a craftsman level, but in miniature. If I had to put one finger on what has changed my modeling, it has to be sitting down and reading Peter Kazer’s book. If he collects anything, it is the tools to build the project, there is no good enough. The end product of his Corris modules left me speechless. I sat and looked at photos of the modules and though he did all this in such a small place and told such a wonderful story about a railroad I never heard of but I understood how the railroad fit with its community.

    This is the road that I wish to travel on.


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