Op-Ed: My Morning Walk

Owen Druehl, Contributing Writer

While some might start their morning making their bed as Admiral William H. McRaven has famously suggested, my morning is kickstarted with a walk. I have experienced the seasonal changes during my walk across Reynolds Field for the past eight years. In the spring and fall, the morning sun glistens off the dew-kissed grass as I cross Reynolds Field, providing an immaculate shimmer with each step. The cold sting of the winter air wakes me up when the sun has barely crept over the hill above the park’s eastern edge. The season’s frigid touch provides my caffeine-free strides a bounce.

I bet I could walk across Reynolds while blindfolded. The pebbled cement on the lower half of the path generates icy conditions in the winter, which I learned the hard way. In sixth grade, I slipped and slid all the way to the bottom of the path, ending up by the maintenance shed adjacent to the lower field. My shoes have been assaulted by the grass-hidden puddle next to the pole vault lane. (I’ve learned to be extra cautious whenever I wear my sock-sandal combo). If one chooses to walk across the field via this route, I would advise you enter toward the scoreboard because the field pitches downward, enabling a perfectly placed puddle to be hidden under the infrequently cut grass.

Every morning, students stream through Reynolds. Many take the same line across the field, which is made especially clear in the winter as a singular path of compressed snow emerges across the otherwise blanketed grass. Sometimes I walk along the same path as everyone else, but I also enjoy the crunch of untouched snow beneath my trailblazing feet.

As I look to the future, my days of walking across Reynolds as a high school student are nearing an end. The gratitude I have for the walk has been recently compounded with the disbelief that I will be graduating not only from my treasured route, but from the other routines I have developed while in high school. It seems like yesterday I was playing soccer with friends on Reynolds as a middle schooler. Moving forward, I am committed to a morning walk despite the different setting and community that the future will undoubtedly bring.

Some of my friends who live in other states are baffled that I live in a village of only 8,000 people. Residing in such a small town has some drawbacks, yet I find our tight-knit community a highlight. I love the randomness of whom I might see as I walk to school. My morning journey is both a constant source of joy and calm that enhances my perspective; it invokes a sense of direction and determination within me. My daily momentum is propelled by my walk in spite of the fact that I consistently ignore Admiral McRaven’s advice.

Although I tend to walk quickly to ensure that I’m on time, this year I have occasionally found myself walking more slowly, even pausing to appreciate the start to my day. Sometimes I can even hear echoes of Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”