“Good Lord I’m late!”,I screamed as I barreled down the hall. I looked up at the clock. I could feel it mocking me …”6:45a.m”, shamefully late as usual. I scurried down the stairs to ask my father for a ride. As I banged on his door with the fury of a thousand fists, two things came to my mind. One: my bus arrives at 6:50 and is driving away from the bus stop at this very moment, and two: my father leaves for work at 5a.m.
As I attempted to brush my teeth and my hair at the same time, I tried to calculate how long it would take me to walk to school. The late bell rings at 7:45, but it takes at least fifty minutes to walk along the highway (an hour if I valued my life). But it was already 7:00a.m and I just didn’t have the time. But, I grabbed my stuff and ran out the door anyway. I had to try.
I ran down the street with the quick speed of an escaped convict. I was so consumed by my efforts to avoid tardiness that I didn’t notice Mrs. Hieldly, my neighbor, strolling towards me. Had I noticed her, I would have certainly taken the long way out of my neighborhood. I eventually looked up and saw her waving. Even though she is a sweet lady, I couldn’t help thinking about how much she talked and how little time I had. I nodded and tried to scoot by her, but she grabbed my arm.
“Sweetie, don’t walk by your elders without saying hello. Why are you in such a rush?” she said.” “I’m sorry, I’m late for school.” I mumbled. “Young people, always in a rush! Punctuality is next to godliness. Don’t you know that?” she replied. “Yes ma’am, but cleanliness is closer” I muttered. She frowned at me and said, “Don’t dawdle. If you’re late, take the Ashley Greenway Trail.” She grabbed my arm and walked me down to the trail.
Although I had passed the bike trail every day since first grade, I had never taken it. I turned around to tell her that I would rather take the highway, but she had already started walking away, so I kept walking. At first, I was walking very fast with my head down because I was afraid. The trail had an eerie silence. There were no cars, buses or street noises. But, as I slowed down and began to pay attention to my surroundings. I heard and saw more. The trees on both sides of me leaned towards each other, making a beautiful arching canopy. Their leaves were bright yellow and red, mixed with dark hues of brown. I heard sparrows and jays chirping all about me. Everywhere I looked I was surrounded by beauty and nature.
By the time I got to school, I realized that it had taken me an hour to walk a thirty minute trail. But, even as I folded up my tardy slip, I thought about how much I enjoyed my adventure. I have always had fanciful day-dreams about traveling to the Russian wilderness to be “one with nature”. Yet, here I was, longingly for some foreign adventure when adventure was all around me. My travel experience taught me that adventure is always in reach. I may not be able to go to England or Russia, but I can travel where I am and learn to appreciate the beauty of my own backyard, even when I am running late.
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