“Bye mom!” I shouted while walking past my home’s gate. It was the first day of school and I was walking alone to school after a long time. Excitement buzzed through me, even though I knew the quick trip would only be ten minutes. I skipped to the sidewalk and started to make my way down the long concrete road.
After jogging a few blocks, I realized how thick and humid the air was. Maybe other days I didn’t realize it because I’m inside the car, I thought. I blinked a few times to clear the precipitation in my eyes.
I look up, using my hands to cover the sun from falling on to my eyes. I just noticed how little trees there were. On any other street, you would see plenty of trees lined up. But on this road, there were only about two.
The grass surrounding plants was also a sandy yellow, indicating the lack of water provided to it. For all I knew, it wasn’t heat in the air, it was pollution.
When I arrived at school, I was more tired than I usually would have been, and not to mention a few minutes late. But the periods had come and gone and soon it was lunch break.
Waiting for my friends, my mind wandered off to my neighborhood situation, I knew I couldn’t continue to be late everyday. Maybe I could take a different route. Or maybe I could try to ignore the smell and temperature. I knew I couldn’t change the air quality so that it would be better…Or could I? I slammed down a stack of firm paper and cardboard. I collected a handful of markers and a printer, ready to get to work.
I could see the outcome right now: Friends and family working together to plant more greenery. I was planning on creating a gardening event, where we got everyone together to plant trees.
My parents agreed to it, and even took me shopping for shovels, seeds, and garden tools. I spent hours working on my project, and when I was finished, I stepped back proudly to look at my work.
The next day, I went door-to-door handing out flyers to everyone in my neighborhood. Every flyer contained the location, time, and date. Each person I met accepted the flyer graciously and agreed about the air quality dilemma. By the end of the day, I was full of exhaustion, excitement, and anticipation.
I shove the tip of the shovel in a crescent of soil. Slowly reeling the dirt back, I throw a handful of seeds onto the ground. Then, I patch up the hole with soil. My parents hand me a watering can and I sprinkle the droplets of water onto the area I filled.
I was disappointed that nobody had come, but I continued my work. After a few more minutes, I could hear mumbling. I look up to see an elderly couple grabbing the shovels leaning from off the wall. A smile spread across my face.
“Thank you for coming! Do you know how to plant trees?” I ask them.
The woman smiled back and replied, “Yes! And I love your idea, I can’t wait to start!”
At that, I felt more determined. I continued the job.
Minutes turned to hours and the sun shone on our backs. More people started to show up. There were kids and adults, all ages becoming friends. Next thing I knew, there were people digging and planting. Watering and patching up. Talking and laughing. Creating a better future. I felt victorious.