My 13-year-old took part in last Friday’s Youth Climate Strike — coincidentally one of the warmest days in veritable weeks in Vermont. Since I usually work at home on Fridays, I folded up my laptop around noon and walked downtown. I met the photographer for the local paper in front of the diner, and we joked around for a bit until the students walked down from the high school.
The principal had called the parents the night before and given the heads up that this wasn’t a school event, but he let us know when the kids planned to leave. He walked down with the kids, too, and a number of teachers came, too. The Buffalo Mountain Co-op staff came out to cheer on the kids.
The kids lined up on the suspension bridge over the Lamoille River. I stood talking with my daughter’s humanities teacher and reading the kids’ signs. My favorite: The dinosaurs thought they had more time, too. The day was impeccably sunny. Some of the kids came with an intensity to talk about the climate; others simply to escape the school, take a walk, and get some vitamin D. Then the kids headed back up the hill, chatting, happy.
I can’t help but wonder: 36 years from now, when my younger daughter is my age, will she remember this day? And what will the world be like then? Contrary to the often pessimistic bend of my nature, I’m forcing myself to envision a brilliantly beautiful day, clamorous with youth, optimism, and ebullient joy in a fine March day, a gift in Vermont.