Life is About the Journey, Not the DestinationFinally, I heard the bell — that beautiful, beautiful bell. The ringing continued to vibrate deep into my little body as I shook with exhilaration. School was over for the day; I was free at last. First grade is hard. Much harder than kindergarten. I am most certain that this will be the most difficult grade of them all. It will get much easier from here.

I got up from my desk and stretched.  I looked at my friend Jamison and crossed my eyes. What a brilliant new skill I have acquired. I spent the entire summer mastering it. It’s one of my greatest accomplishments. All that work’s paid off – Jamison laughed. I giggled back and we raced over to put on our jackets.

“Knock, knock,” I said in my most boisterous voice.

“Who’s there,” Jamison humored me.


“Chicken who?”

“Chicken butt!” It’s my best joke – my only joke. Someday, I know someone will laugh at it. Not this time.

“Dylan and Jamison, it’s still quiet time, please.” Mrs. Jenesy never looked angry or annoyed. I shrugged my shoulders and continued to the line. As I was standing there, I noticed that the ceiling consisted of tiles. How many are there? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…

“Dylan, honey, let’s go,” Mrs. Jenesy patiently urged. Agh! Everyone was already out the door. I ran up to the end of the line.

Wow! Those fifth graders are so good. I wish I could draw like that. My inadequacies in art didn’t last long as I submerged myself into the new paintings on the fifth grade hallway wall. Good, good, awesome, good, that one stinks, oh, really good!  The string of paintings ended when the door was a few feet away.

The glorious autumn sunrays beamed through the open doorway, and as we exited, they poured onto my skin. It was a beautiful September day. The air was crisp, the wind was still, the day was warm. I ripped my jacket off and shoved it into my bag, working the straps back onto my shoulders as I pried my way through the colorful crowd of screaming children.

I found myself standing still amongst the chaos, face up, soaking in the golden goodness from above. I could smell the manure in the horse pasture that stood adjacent to the playground. The horses snorted as they sauntered toward the fence to take carrot and apple pieces from the children with leftover lunches. A fluffy cloud surrounded by little wisps seemed to take up half the sky. It looks like a school bus. Riding the bus home would be so cool. Then I wouldn’t have to walk all the way home. I bet I walk farther than anyone else. It’s like four blocks!

My thoughts were interrupted when a Kindergartener bumped into me. We both stumbled backwards and she ran away to catch up to her mom. As I began my trek home, I made sure to watch for rocks on the sidewalk. I hope I find a rock like the one I found yesterday. I can still see it, all shiny and sparkly. But then I lost it. If I find one like that today, I can give it to mom. She would love it.

But something else caught my eye. A mushroom! No, six mushrooms! I reached down with my finger to touch it, to delicately graze the top and feel how smooth it must be. My finger crushed it. Dang it! Good thing there are five more. They were dirty white, each sporting a few cracks. The one I crushed exposed a grey stem and smelled like earth.

As I inspected the fungi, I noticed something moving. A tiny black ant was carrying another ant on its back. How do they do that? I can’t carry Jamison on my back. I tried last week. We both fell and then got in trouble for horseplaying. Not fair.

When I began walking again, I was backwards. I could feel my cheeks jiggle as each step pounded awkwardly onto the pavement. The view was better this way; I could observe the giant cloud as it morphed into its next disguise. It continued to transform, but I couldn’t distinguish any particular shapes so I turned back around.

I passed by the green house with the little dog that always barks. I gawked at it as I strode by. I’m sure walking slowly must make him happier. In fact, he’s probably cheering me on. At that thought, I began running so as not to disappoint my audience.

Half a block later, I stopped, panting, with my hands on my knees for support. I must have just run for about a mile. I’m getting really good at that. As my head was down, I noticed the bountiful dandelions springing from the lawn of the corner house. Mom likes that they don’t spray their yard. Sometimes they dig up the thistles and leave holes big enough for me lay in. The thistles were back and blooming. She loves the purple puffs that they produce, but I wasn’t about to make that mistake again. I opted for a few bright yellow dandelions, instead, and plucked them up.

Smiling, I tucked the dandelions into my pocket for safe keeping. I sang the song we learned that day in music class as I continued down the sidewalk. After a couple verses, I bent down and picked up a stray stick. I felt it and inspected it to make sure it was indeed brown and rough as sticks must be. It was.

When I looked up, I noticed I was in my yard. I threw the stick in the grass and pulled the wilted flowers out of my pocket. Mom will love these.