I remember when I was in middle school, people walked out of the building bundled under big, fuzzy coats and the thickest gloves imaginable. The icy December wind blew relentlessly around the students walking outside as my fingers started to freeze inside the school building. During one quiet afternoon, I happened to stumble upon an article that detailed Earth’s rising temperatures in the last few years. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, and assumed it would eventually pass as a temporary phenomenon. However, everything would change when I entered high school, when the Earth began to warm itself behind my back.
When I was in high school, students casually strolled out of the school doors with nothing but a light jacket on and their heavy winter coats draped over their arms. Some kids were dashing towards cars waiting outside to go home or walking and talking with friends heading to town. I stood by the back of the school undoing my bike lock, feeling the mild warmth of the sunlight as the snow slowly melted around me. As I was about to embark on my usual ride home, my neck began to feel slightly irritated due to the strong sunlight. I ignored the sensation and began to pedal as the afternoon chatter grew quieter and quieter as I biked away from school.
The air blew around me as I glided on my bike, thinking about the relaxing I was going to do after I finally made it home. I soon arrived to the usual hill, getting off my bike in a defeated manner and beginning to trudge up the tiring path. The pavement glowed an eerie bright gray that day like a towel straight out of the dryer. The grass was fresh and almost fully green like in the early springtime. As I pushed my bike up the hill, the strong rays of sunlight pushed against my dark clothing and forced me to stop. Nonetheless, I continued to head up the hill again as my sweatshirt started to become damp and stick to my back. Without knowing, I wiped my forehead and felt small drops of sweat smear on my hand.
I felt myself slowing to a stop again to catch my nonexistent breath. I could not hear the sounds of trees rustling in the wind or cars rushing on the road anymore. Under the relentless light of the sun, I was surrounded by the white noise of a silent springtime. My eyes were not fixated on anything due to my fatigue, but in the distance I could hear the faint voice of the morning weatherwoman echo in my ears.
“Spring has come early today,” she announced, pointing to the high temperatures flooding this week. “Say good-bye to winter while you can, because it’s time for a nice trip to the beach!”
I shuddered as the soft wind of springtime blew against me, almost mocking me with its warm touch and making the back of my neck itch even more. Almost hypnotized by the eerily pleasant weather, I continued to walk up the hill and ignore the bright rays of the sun. It wasn’t supposed to be sixty degrees when it had snowed the day before. It wasn’t supposed to be warm when the trees were dead.
When I reached the top of the hill, the sun beat down on me stronger than ever as I struggled to remount my bike. As I started to roll down the other side of the hill to my home, my brain replayed a line of text I read over and over in my head. “These are the highest recorded temperatures in over ten years. The Earth is getting hotter.” Soon I arrived to my home, blinded by the blazing sun overhead.