Timothy’s Climate Story


Timothy Jiang


Rockville, Maryland, 20850

How are you sensing climate change?

It was like any other mid December day. I was home from winter break, the smell of freshly burned gingerbread cookies wafting lazily through my living room as my four year old cousin engaged in enthusiastic conversation with my dog. I was splayed out on my couch watching TLC catatonically, as any good college student would given some respite from school.

“Look, Tim, Snow! Snow!”, my cousin yelled as he jumped up and down, trying ever so hard to catch one more glimpse of the falling snowflakes.

“Yea Daniel, snow, would you look at that”, I replied, still fixated on whether she’d actually say yes to the 15th dress.

My cousin went on. “Snow!!! It’s snow Tim! It’s like we’re in Ice Age!” At this point he was almost tearing up he was so ecstatic. “We need to go outside and play!”

What, this excited over like an eighth inch of snow? I thought to myself. Whatever, it’s probably a four year old thing, I wouldn’t get it”

I put on some snow boots, zipped up Daniel’s puffy Michelin-man winter coat, and headed outside with him. The instant we stepped outside, Daniel dove to the ground and started making snow angels. Attempted is probably the better word here, as there wasn’t enough snow to cover our freshly mowed lawn.

“Tim, have a snowball fight with me!” Daniel shrieked as he tried to gather all the snow he could. Every time he would clasp some in his hand, it would instantly melt.

He kept trying, and trying, and trying, eventually getting so frustrated that tears started streaming down his face, this time tears of frustration and not joy.

Then it finally hit me.

Last winter in Maryland, it hadn’t snowed hard enough a single time to cancel school, make a snowman, have a snowball fight, or even coat our driveway without it melting an hour later. The year before that, it might’ve snowed more, but Daniel was much too young to remember. In essence, this pathetic flurry was the most snow he’d seen with his own two eyes.

When I was the same age as Daniel, I remember blizzards that would cancel school for a week, snow so high that my dad and I would make igloos out of them, snow so heavy I could sink waist deep. Core memories that don’t just pale in comparison, they hurt.

And here’s little Daniel, surgically harvesting snow off blades of grass to make a snowball.

How do these changes make you feel?

Obviously, in terms of consequences of climate change, some little kid not being able to roll a snowball is nothing compared to the wildfires, floods, water level rises, and all the other catastrophes that humans across the globe face today. But more than anything, this experience gives me this odd nostalgic-but-fatalist feeling that so much of what I’ve experienced as a child will never be experienced again by kids of today and tomorrow. It’s incredibly sad. I’d like to say that I also feel hopeful that things will get better, that perhaps my kids may be able to sled down the hill in my backyard, but frankly I don’t feel hopeful at all from reminiscing on this story.

Rockville, Maryland 20850

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