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“Eyes Wide Open”, Blog by Kristin Matheny- #4 “The Woods Are Lovely, Dark, and Deep” 3/14/2012

“Eyes Wide Open” by Kristin Matheny

“The Woods Are Lovely, Dark, and Deep”


Robert Frost was a pretty amazing poet, and I think any fellow English teacher worth his or her salt would second my opinion. With that being said, I suppose it was only a matter of time before a famous poetry reference ended up in one of these blogs.

I’ll talk about Robert Frost in a minute. Right now, I’ve got to backtrack a little. I’ll get back to him soon.

In the winter of 2005, I made up my mind that I absolutely did not want to become a lawyer. I was a second year law student, and I had spent the first 21 years of my life thinking, “maybe I want to be a lawyer, I want to make a lot of money, I want to be successful and rich”…and the year and a half I’d spent in law school thinking, “what the hell am I doing?”. I really, really hated law school, and I really, really hated the people that I met there (with a few notable exceptions, one being my husband). It was one fateful day in late 2005 that I finally got the courage to leave that place and pursue another career, one that felt like a better “fit” all around.

I was sitting in my Criminal Law class. I had taken to sitting way in the back for multiple reasons, the most important being that I had become a target for many of the law professors at my school. They knew who I was, and I’m sure that they pretty much groaned when I walked into their classrooms on the first day of each semester. I had  spent a year and a half arguing with them about everything, every single nonsensical liberal ideology, every swipe they took at Justice Scalia or Justice Thomas, every time they decided to impose their own personal “social justice” agenda within lectures. I wasn’t going to let a single rude remark go by without raising my hand and calmly letting them know that the logical, conservative voice was present and ever-so-intently listening. The legal profession had been taken over by borderline-Communistic academics, most of whom had never actually practiced LAW a day in their lives, as it were.

To make a long story short, this Criminal Law class was being taught by a professor who I’d had before, the only reasonably fair professor I’d encountered. She actually heard me out, she heard everyone out…which is precisely why I took her class. The trouble was not with her, the trouble was with my classmates who, for the most part, were pretend “tiger woman” man-hating, left-wing female law students. We were reading a case about a college student who had claimed that her ex-boyfriend raped her in the dorm of her California (of course) college campus. I don’t recall the facts precisely, nor do I remember the name of the case (maybe someone out there does?), but here were the basic, undisputed facts:

Girl and Boy break up, mainly because Boy meets another girl and decides her likes her more. Girl is furious. Girl spends several (documented) weeks trying to call and contact Boy, who has moved on with the other girl. Boy changes his number and notifies the campus police (again, documented), who do nothing. Boy and Girl wind up at the same frat party. Boy and Girl both get extremely drunk. Girl insists Boy go home with her. Boy refuses and ultimately agrees to “talk things out” at her dorm. The two sit in the public lounge area, and, somehow, things become drunkenly romantic (surprise surprise…oh, and there were two passerby witnesses who attested to the “cordial nature” of the romantic rendezvous). Boy sobers up, realizes his error, and runs home. Girl, angry, pursues Boy for hours but is unable to reach him. Girl, in an angry state (also documented) alleges that Boy raped her. Chaos ensues.

Now, at trial, there was absolutely NO physical evidence. A rape kit was done but, ladies and gentlemen, what do you think they found? Other than that, it was one person’s word against another’s…or should we say, one jilted female’s “cries of rape” against a so-called angry “male oppressor”. I regret to inform you that the poor kid was actually convicted of rape- he protested the conviction wholeheartedly, as did every single witness involved.

After we discussed the facts of this case, I wanted to scream. I literally wanted to scream. THIS was a case worth studying? Maybe if we were studying how BACKWARDS the justice system can be, or how utterly clueless many California courts are. Of course I had to say something…I had no choice.

To spare some time, I’ll just tell you the outcome. My comments questioning the young college girl’s motives erupted into a battle royale, which ended in three female classmates following me angrily to my car screaming names at me (which I won’t repeat here), demanding that the professor never let me back into her class again, and telling me that I “was setting the Women’s Movement back fifty years”. Yes, this actually happened. I’ve got plenty of witnesses too.

I went home and did everything I could to try and wipe the memory from my head, but I knew I had to make a promise to myself- that I had just begun. If the message of conservativism couldn’t be realized in a law school classroom, I’d do whatever I could to ensure that the message was heard some other way, at some later time. I marched into the administrative offices the very next morning and left law school forever. I was relieved, I hadn’t been doing well anyway, I was miserable. I give those fellow conservatives who had the chutzpah to “stick it out” plenty of credit…I’d had enough. I made that promise to myself that same day, that I would not take the same, seemingly-easy path to fulfillment, and I wouldn’t settle for simply shutting my mouth in order to gain the favor of those around me and, ultimately, success.

Now, for Robert Frost.

The promise I made was not a solemn vow, necessarily, but a poem by Robert Frost. I’m sure most of you have read it or studied it at some point. It is entitled “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”. Here it is, to jog your memory:


Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village, though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.


My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.


He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sounds the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.


The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.


It’s beautiful in its simplicity, and it has a ridiculously crisp meter and rhyme pattern…but it wasn’t Frost’s technique here that I latched onto. It was the personal meaning in the last few lines…

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.


It was poignant and touching because it was absolutely true. The idea of a fat paycheck and the thrill of the courtroom had become my “woods”, so lovely to think about, to dream about. Wasted time. I had become so caught up in the idea of “going to law school, becoming a lawyer, making lots of money” that I had completely forgotten and neglected the most important part of myself, which had been surfacing and straining to get out for a year and a half. I pushed it down and repressed it more every time I walked into the classroom. I certainly wouldn’t say that I did “the noble thing”…I wish I’d been able to stick it out and effect some real change. But, at the time, it felt like the right decision and it still feels like I did the right thing. I had no business being there, swallowing my anger to get better grades. My responsibility was to myself, to the causes I knew were worth fighting for, even if that meant sacrificing a “posh life” as a lawyer.

For six years, I taught happily, I got married to the greatest man, I had a beautiful son. I’ve had a good life, but again I’ve become caught up in the day-to-day grind. I find myself getting mad when there’s a traffic jam, letting a teething toddler’s 3:00am wails ruin my nights, getting excited about TV shows and going to get my morning lattes. I seem to have forgotten the promise I’d made with myself six years ago. Life is captivating- it’s interesting, it can be positive, it can be negative, the day-to-day seems so important. But it isn’t everything…it isn’t the most important thing. The most important things in life are the things worth fighting for- family, friends, this country, our Constitution. I have let myself wander through the woods, which are “lovely, dark, and deep”, I’ve spent far too long dilly-dallying and not enough time fulfilling my responsibilities.

We’ve got a million causes, a million purposes to recharge, fellow patriots- not just for the 2012 elections, but beyond that. In the day-to-day, we are getting caught up, failing to see that our rights and our Founding Fathers’ goals are being trampled on. A few weeks ago, I was driving home from a play date and I actually heard the now-infamous Rush Limbaugh dialogue on the Sandra Fluke Contraception nonsense. I was with him 100%, and I was infuriated when left-wing politicos (even Nancy Pelosi herself, waving her “pink flag of femininity” and crying fake tears of pride) and media personalities railed against him for his use of strong words to describe Fluke’s motives. I heard what he was saying…it had nothing to do with social issues, but it had everything to do with the fact that the Left had gone much too far in mandating that we taxpayers should have to foot the bill for college students’ contraception! Unbelievable! They got so heated, trying to say that Limbaugh was a woman-hater, a bigot, whatever…but they missed his entire point.

Our Constitution is under attack, we taxpayers are under assault daily by this Administration and its cronies. Forced to buy unconstitutional health care, forced to pay for contraception (nevermind the fact that you could make an argument against the constitutionality of this under the “religious freedom” clause)…I could go on and on. They are trying to force us to pay for the trial, court costs, and imprisonment of people who are not guilty…in order to prove a political point, belittling the cases of real victims across the country. And the worst part is, Americans are buying into it, because it seems correct, social justice “seems” like the “right” thing to believe in, even if it’s not logical. It’s a shortcut to thinking, that’s all. Vote for Obama because it’s a “vote that will make history”. Believe in left-wing causes because “your heart tells you to”. Emotional appeal. Oldest advertising trick in the book.

All the while, what are we doing to fight it?

For a while there, I was sad to see Tea Party membership wane. I was discouraged by the lack of enthusiasm at some of my Tea Party’s meetings, the “give up” attitude that its once ardent members had. I’ve seen a shift, though…and it’s because I think people are realizing what I’m realizing. People are making their own promises to themselves, they look at their kids, their grandkids, their families, and they see how the degradation of the Constitution, of patriotism, of values is affecting the future. The prognosis is grim unless we are willing to pledge to commit ourselves to the fight, to realize our true purposes.

Yes, the woods are lovely, dark, and deep. Life can be beautiful, it can be fun, it can be aggravating…but it will not be worth anything unless we secure the future for ourselves and our loved ones. Get angry. Get motivated. There’s a battle worth fighting, and the gauntlet has been thrown. Responsibilities at home. To our kids. To our country. We’ve got promises to keep…

And miles to go before we sleep.

And miles to go before we sleep.


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4 thoughts on ““Eyes Wide Open”, Blog by Kristin Matheny- #4 “The Woods Are Lovely, Dark, and Deep” 3/14/2012

  1. James Frame on said:

    Wow! What an excellent post…..

  2. jimweber4881 on said:

    Extraordinary piece! I have been fighting this crap since the late seventies and have relayed my own university experiences similar to yours. And just when I was ready to pack my golf clubs and head down the road, enjoying the winter of my life, you come along and remind me that I have miles to go before I sleep. Thanks. This is just the kick in the behind that I needed.

  3. This is my third attempt at commenting… this time I will copy it before hitting the post button… but what I wanted to say was that just today I was giving serious thought to trashing my political blog/news site…. that is untill five minutes after that and I read this post. No one really desires to give in or give up. We want not to have to tend to the garden of integrity on a daily basis that is failing to grow within the body politic. Unfortunately supervision and oversigt is required of us as they cannot be trusted to work independently. Gone are the days of a few good watchmen. It takes everyone of us, and still they are lying bold-faced straight to us without reservation even with PROOF!

    There stance is that of …well… a jackass!

    So today I had a momentary pity session on why I sould even bother when the RNC is setting out to act exactly like the DNC .. then I rememberd my own article after reading this one and quit?? Oh (deeply wanting to does not mean I will ) we will need to continue this battle for L I F E!

    It is not about winning one election (although groups are taking to silence where endorsements are concerned) the last or the next, but rather seeking a level of integrity… right now any level of clear integrity would be good. You know what the say business is politics and politics is business … well we better be getting to the RIGHT business and the RIGHT politics… because this government DOES NOT REFLECT THE LEVEL OF INTEGRITY THAT I KNOW AMERICANS HAVE! (the majority).

    I do have to continue to believe that they will stand as they did last time and this time we will clean out the cobwebs of communism lurking in our halls of congress.. and we shall continue the battle for as long as I live!

    This I re-commit TODAY!

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