REVISED ESSAY: please critique!

<p>My favorite time of day is when most of the town still sleeps. It is my time to ponder and to relax. It is when I consider the happenings of the previous day, and imagine those of the day to come. It is my time to think and do and feel whatever I want. It is when I walk to school.
All of the schools I have ever attended have been within one half mile of my house. So, for the past thirteen years I have taken the same exact route every morning at 7:45. Out the door, down Pala Avenue, left on Highland, cross at the intersection (the Oakland one, not the Blair one), take a right down Magnolia, and you're there. The only thing that has changed in this custom is that my Mother no longer accompanies me to Elementary School.
Winters are my favorite. The crisp December wind swirls the fallen golden brown leaves. I walk, deeply inhaling the brisk air with a sense of tranquility. While on my way, I notice the old white Land Rover, the one with the cracked and peeling paint. It is packed to capacity with everything imaginable a dry cleaning, cases of soda, old straw hats, and what resembles an old record player. The lady with the Golden Retrievers walks by. Her older one trots merrily along, the other (a small puppy) is too young and gets tired during her long walks. She has to put him in a baby stroller. When I pass the community church, I can see all of the tiny second and third graders just exiting their early-morning Spanish class with Senora Rosa, the one I took just nine short years ago. I round the corner now, passing the old Veterans Hall where old ladies' perfume can be smelt wafting out the windows; the annual senior gala is taking place. This time is my last vestige of liberty until the sounding of the school bell, when all of the students apathetically wander their way to class. I savor this time, wanting it to last forever, or at least until after first period & AP French.
This routine has given structure to the start of my day, and as a result, the rest of my day seems to run smoother and more enjoyably. It is like a diving board you don't need it to get into the pool, but it is much better to use it and have a clean entry, rather than a chaotic splash.
I have realized that through this unremarkable practice, I have learned not only how to manage my day, but to look forward to mornings as well. Thus, I now look forward to the start of School each day. This is not only the beginning school, but the beginning of each day. Every day, I have found, is a new opportunity; an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to love; and which I have grown to love, and through it I have learned to grow.</p>

<p>Gosh, I preferred the original version, which didn't have this first paragraph. It's unnecessary "telling." The reader really does "get it" on their own without this paragraph. Also, if most of the town still sleeps how can you then describe on the little activities you go on to mention? Doesn't make sense...
Small typo: "This is not only the beginning school"
I think you left out a word: "This is not only the beginning OF school"....</p>

<p>JJsMOM, "Also, if most of the town still sleeps how can you then describe on the little activities you go on to mention? Doesn't make sense"</p>

<p>Actually, he might change this to "much of community is still asleep, oblivious of the various early morning's activities."</p>

<p>"The only thing that has changed is my mother no longer accompanies me to
elementary school"</p>

<p>Makes it sound like you are in elementary school. I would delete "to elementary school" and just say, "no longer accompanies me". Also, is "smelt" a word? Sounds a little ackward.</p>

<p>The last paragraph doesn't work for me. You seem to repeat yourself and while I think I understand what you are trying to say, I think it could be more clearly stated.</p>

<p>Otherwise, I think it is a wonderful essay that let's the reader know who you are! Good work and good luck!</p>

<p>What about my diving board metaphor? Do you guys think that I should keep it?</p>