I love running first thing in the morning on the Dogwood Springs Trail, the paved path that snakes through Siloam Springs and rings John Brown’s campus. Morning is the most beautiful time of day, full of the promise of the hours ahead. The sky is tinged with ever-brightening blue as I run by Hutch residence hall and down past the rugby pitch.
Ahead of me, I spot three deer making their halting way toward the trees. They’re beautiful and bold because they haven’t seen me yet. I round the corner, and spot the deer turning back the way they came. They’re afraid because they’ve seen me at last. The creek is louder than normal, fuller from the recent rain, and I spot a heron calmly standing on the bank. I’ve never seen a heron here before. I smile—it’s like my own little secret gift.
The world is waking up. I pass a few walkers who smile at me and, as I cross the street, the people in the cars wave. The library is glowing, the golden light from the windows pouring out like an invitation of warmth.
I turn back toward my dorm, my mind already turning from the beauty around me to the logistics of the day ahead. Those hours of peace—the quiet mornings—are when I appreciate Northwest Arkansas’ inherent beauty and am centered for the hustle and bustle of college life.