Guest Column: Escape into introspection

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Lauren Bowersock with Wyatt Lauren Bowersock with Wyatt.

By Lauren Bowersock

The surrounding air has no particular aroma as I breathe it in, but it’s fresh and it clears my mind. With a deep exhale I feel the stress of the week disappear. Here I am, out on the open streets with Wyatt, just how I like it.

My dirty sneakers lift up, off of my neighbor Ted’s maroon cobblestone driveway, and step onto the dark, black asphalt of the street. Ted’s long-maned Sheltie pitter patters his tiny padded feet a yard ahead of me. I glance inquisitively when a crescendo of loud rustling begins above my head, and all around me the trees are doing a dance from side to side. They swish, move and groove, all to their own beat. I forget about Wyatt to absorb the other life teeming around me. The vibrant sun shining, birds chirping, and leaves crunching underfoot are all cliché components of our walk.
Yet there’s more. A cheerful chorus of crickets follows us everywhere we go, falling leaves shimmer down from above like brightly colored snowflakes, and the perfectly clear blue sky is like a blank canvas encompassing my whole world. In the center of the magnificent ocean of air, a single blackbird hangs in the sky like a marionette. My eye is drawn to a thin stream of puffy white smoke that reaches up, up, up and out of my view.
The atmosphere is mesmerizing but I am drawn back to myself by the familiar jingling of Wyatt’s collar. With each carefully decided step, the bells bounce up and down merrily. Other than that, there is silence. That is my favorite part: the absence of speaking. The annoying discord of voices, petty gossip and heated arguments are all gone in this place, replaced by the peaceful projections of simpler life.
This is a path less traveled by, with only the occasional passing car or lone neighbor to break its stillness. Here is where my imagination runs wild. The pressure to think is absent, leaving my mind to wander. This miniature purebred is my companion that travels by my side as I explore every possibility of life.
In my own world of thought, I have a feeling of comfort that I wish could last forever. Why can’t I feel this way all the time? It puzzles me. The din of the real world is overpowering sometimes, and I rely on these walks to escape it.
I love when my mind sidetracks, stopping to marvel at the tiny armies of ants prowling in the unkempt jungles of an empty front yard, pausing to wonder about the future of a world where trash covers the streets like a rug. I take a moment to breathe in the fresh scents of musky pine. I thrive on the silence surrounding me.
Yet I must leave all of these wonders behind as I make my way back up the familiar cobblestone driveway. With a farewell tinkling of Wyatt’s little bells, I depart until tomorrow when I will once again enjoy my single daily moment of clarity.

(Editor’s note: Bowersock, of Seaville, is a student at Ocean City High School. She plays soccer and winter track, and participates in Gilda’s Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Interact Club and Spanish Club. She originally wrote this essay for an English class, and then submitted it to The Gazette.)

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