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A Road Awakening
I open my eyes slowly, to the sound of branches rustling against my windowsill. Outside, it’s still dark. My mind is awake, but my body begs to remain underneath the plush covers and smooth, cool feeling of the pillow against my cheek. Just a few more minutes, it begs. Okay, I agree, a few more minutes. I roll over slowly, pulling the checkered blanket around my tired body. But as I begin to snuggle in, I catch a glimpse of them sitting in the corner, outside of my closet door. They call to me, earnestly, and at first, my aching body resists. But then I picture it in my mind, and suddenly, my fatigue is replaced by excitement, energy. Yes, I say, this is one of those mornings. I slide out of my bed and tiptoe over. You win again, I say, admitting defeat. I pull on some clothes, socks, and them. As I tie the laces together, my dog remains collapsed on my bed. He doesn’t move, except for his eyelids which open slightly. He looks over, resentful at me for disrupting his early morning sleep. I stroke his fur and whisper to him, Shhh. I say. I’ll be back soon; don’t tell anyone. He moseys over to my pillow, still warm from my body heat, and snuggles in, in response. He is the only one who knows of my secret. I reach the front door and open it slowly, and slide the key in the lock to close it. And then I turn to face the world. My journey awaits.
I feel the excitement and anticipation. It starts from my fingertips and travels through my veins, down through my body, reaching the tips of my toes. Eventually the whole of my feet are burning with desire. And so I begin.
The road is quiet still; there is not a passerby in sight. I take a deep breath, soaking in my calm and peaceful surroundings. The road is my audience, stretching out for miles ahead of me, cheering me on, to continue. And I feel it all: the chilly breeze against my red cheeks, and the wet dew that begins to soak my shoes, cooling me. I soak in every sacred moment with pleasure and satisfaction. I notice that it begins to get a little lighter outside, but still the sun hides behind the trees, waiting: I have more time.
I listen to the harmony of my breath, my heart, and the wind in the trees, as they all string together creating one symphony. And the constant beat, as they hit the pavement in a repetition of sound. Thump, thump, thump….
These mornings are my favorite. I love to be up early, while others sleep: The scared few hours in which the world is tranquil, and takes a short break from the hectic bustle of the day.
Eagerly, I press on, my heart quickening, my breath shortening. I feel my mind begin to clear, my stress begin to melt away as my thoughts are released into the fresh, clean air that has had its rest overnight. And they listen, their strong, firm grip encasing my feet. Always faithful, always understanding, their repetitious sound gives me a sense of stability and confidence as I vent my troubles and worries to them. Possibility lures me further, surrounding me with its power. I have the whole day ahead of me, full of new hopes, new experiences. I challenge myself. Can I do one more mile? Can I accomplish everything I want to today?
I advance towards new trails, tackling each challenging new course with all the strength I can muster. I can do this, I think, I can do anything. I feel as though I’m flying as I pass the market down the street, my old house, the 7-11 around the corner. Lights begin to turn on inside stores; cars begin to appear in parking lots. Slowly, the rest of the world is awakening. I turn back towards home.
The sun begins to rise over the treetops, casting its rays against my heated body. I reach the doorstep and slip inside just in time, before my secret is discovered. NO one else knows of my personal escape, my own paradise. This time is mine alone. Time for me to be whoever I want to be: my only boundary is myself.
Each day I go to school, meet with friends, do homework, go to track practice. All of these activities are extremely important to me, but sometimes I long for a vacation from such a hectic and busy lifestyle. I crave that escape that each person needs.
The serenity and tranquility of those early mornings are irresistible. I have time to be with my greatest critic, my strongest opponent that has the most control over me: myself. With ambition to challenge myself, I discover my own, new levels of potential. I can go that one extra mile. And when I’ve done it, when I know that I have gone a further distance than I ever thought possible, a smile spreads across my face. And I feel the joy of a wonderful accomplishment. I may not be the best runner on my track team, or the smartest student at my school, but I have accomplished something special and unique. I have met my own expectations, and to be able to accomplish my own personal goals: that, in itself, is enough.
The road stretches on for miles ahead, never-ending. I can choose any path I want, because I believe I can conquer any hill, any boundary, any struggle. I realize that with this daring to go above and beyond the expected, with this strength and knowledge, the possibilities are endless.
They have helped me learn this. Ever since that first morning I went to the sports store, picked them out especially. I still remember the first time I pulled them on, laced them together, and took my first step. With them, I have discovered new ideas, new paths, new possibilities. They are my vehicle, as I venture along. And every time I pull them on, a new adventure awaits. I remain confident, with the knowledge that I can handle anything that comes my way. I am unstoppable.