Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 12
My alarm clock abruptly shakes me out of my dream twenty minutes early. As I walk into the cool morning breeze, I can already see the sun peaking out through the clear gray sky. I breathe in fresh air and I am pleased with my decision to walk my puppies at the start of every new day. They both trot beside me as I get caught up in the sight of colorful lawns, trees and flowers which have been meticulously groomed. I notice my neighborhood quickly coming to life.
Suddenly, a loud galloping from behind quickly rushes past us as a Great Dane lunges ahead of his petite owner who is running to keep up, her hands fastened around a thick leash as she quickly dodges trees, signs and anything in the way. I can hear the woman’s dainty but loud voice as she primly tries to talk the dog out of running ahead of her: “Tiny!!! WAIT!” she exclaims. A giggle escapes my throat at the vision of the healthy woman in her forties (who wears a twenty-year-old girl’s body), as she’s forced into a huge puddle in the far distance, causing her to let out an anguished scream. I look down at my hips and quickly make a mental note to adopt a Great Dane when I turn forty. Across the street, a group of college students waits at a bus stop wearing a look of exhaustion as if they studied all night instead of sleeping, while slouching from the weight of their backpacks overloaded with books. I smile at the thought of the sacrifices we make for our futures. As more cars start appearing, a group of six people on bicycles pedal past me on the street, all wearing helmets and bright, florescent spandex shorts and tops. I’m amazed at that moment, as I think of all the strength they must use to cycle up and down streets while I walk at a slow pace alongside my puppies and others sit in their cars driving. They are in their own world when they cycle, empowered by their motivation to live a long, healthy life. My walk with the puppies comes to an end and I think about my neighborhood and the positivity it emits. It is then that I realize that everyone has the opportunity to be healthy, to be successful; No matter what neighborhood we live in, we as individuals can either make sacrifices and work hard, or we can be negative and make excuses. Now, when negativity comes my way, I take a walk through my neighborhood for inspiration.