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Gabrielle Smith

Brandywine HS, 12th grade

Going for a Walk

The crackle of breaking ice fills my ears, I hear the distant beep of a car alarm, but it begins to fade as I look around and my sight is filled with nothing but white. The cold air burns the inside of my nose all the way into the depths of my lungs. It’s December, 2018, and my breath leaves a trail of steam as I hunt through the wooded region by my house. 

I hear the snap of a stick, my head whips towards the noise, and two dark eyes stare back at me. I am no headlight, but the fawn seems caught in my gaze, and I have been caught back in its’. Snowfall begins to pick up, and the deer eventually retreats to its bevy, the white of the tail blending into the surroundings, but its brown and slender body remains evident.

Crunch. My foot sinks into the snow, it’s not too deep, but it still has covered half of my boot. As I remove my shoe, the brown of the Earth reveals itself, a mixture of dirt and leaves that have fallen over a month ago. They will soon be covered again by the ever-falling snowflakes, but the color is beautiful and does not leave my mind. 

The rain pounds on the windows, it drips down and I watch as the dirt below gets muddier and muddier. I put on my rainboots and jacket, by the time I make it outside the rain has slowed to a light drizzle. There is no thunder or lightning. The air has a certain warmness to it despite the coldness of the rain; it’s now January 2024, and everything has warmed up. 

I am on a walk, it’s one of my favorite types of weather, but as I go on my journey, I shouldn’t be able to take off my jacket, arms bare to the winter air. It happens anyway. These walks are a sort of therapy for me, being outdoors, stretching my legs, and breathing in the free air, allowing myself time for reflection about anything and everything. It’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Although now with record high temperatures, I fear the future of such an innocent activity. 

Will this bliss I am able to find now be available to others in time? Will I lose this connection to a deeper part of my being? This bond with the natural world has inspired me in so many different aspects of my life, and I don’t want–nor future generations–to be deprived of it. I remember the first time I heard of climate change when I was younger, it led me down a rabbit hole of environmentalism. Everything I have learned from then through now and all the passion I gained still remains with me and a very prevalent part of how I interact with the life around me and how I plan for my future. 

The planet is a number one priority of mine, every time I step outside, every walk I go on, every breath of real air, fuels my motivation. It’s beautiful, of course, but also a necessity that every person and animal deserves access to. I feel a responsibility in allowing it to thrive because of my belief, and the fact that everyone should also be able to experience the connection to their soul and deep belonging I am able to achieve by being with nature. We are living breathing things and should be given the same ability to live and breathe with the entity that is the Earth itself.

I want to protect the world because I have younger family members, they are still forming their first words, they deserve a future where they can walk in the rain just as I am able to now. Even then, there are so many young people I don’t know, that still should have that same right. 

However, in today’s society, I know there are many people who don’t get the access that I have, and that is why I also want to work towards environmental justice and equality; everyone deserves to live in a good world. Deep peace, beauty, and more importantly safety should be extended to every person, and I want to be a part of helping us all get the same footing as we continue preserving and protecting our world.

I personally plan to study engineering and after college I need to throw all that knowledge I will gain as skill back at the world so I can do my part. I already do the basics of reduce, reuse, recycle, composting, anything I as a consumer can do to limit my negative impact on the environment, but once I get my degree I want to make bigger positive impacts on other people’s lives as well as my own.

I need a future where I and anyone else can go outside, take a deep breath, and go for a walk.


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