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  • Joel Grayson

My Three-Hour Journey to School

On a clear November morning, I chose to bike and walk 14 miles to school instead of taking my usual school bus. A speaker at Riverdale who walked across the United States inspired me, I was curious to know what was along the way, and I wanted to test myself. Leaving home from the Financial District in Lower Manhattan, I biked along the Hudson River, watching the rising sun and beauty of the river. A group of ducks quacked while flying into the water, and leaves fell gracefully into sheets of orange, pink, and red covering the ground. After a while, I sat down to rest on a bench. At that moment, I felt a sense of serenity, control over life, and blissfulness. Maybe it was the rising sun, or the breeze, or the beautiful autumn morning. After worrying all week about homework and assessments, at that moment I felt free of stress. The Hudson River bike path kept changing, from wide to narrow, gravel to cement, along the highway to under a bridge, in the trees to over the water. At the top of Manhattan after an hour and 50 minutes, I returned the Citi bike and walked the rest of the way. I passed a primarily Dominican neighborhood with decorations remaining from the Day of the Dead and women standing in front of laundromats. These were places I had never seen before. By the time I saw Fieldston Road, I was so excited and realized I was getting close. Large idyllic houses lined Fieldston Road. Finally, I reached the campus and entered the gates. It felt surreal to be wandering around school, just like any other day, having gone to school on my own for the first time.

I had just experienced the merging of two worlds. Living far from school, I consider Riverdale and my neighborhood separate worlds, because at home I rarely run into someone I know from my school life. After that day, I understood what lay between the two worlds. After my journey, I felt accomplished and surprisingly not tired. I will never again complain about walking between 9/10 and Lindy.

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