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For a long time, I thought when it rained it meant that God was crying. Though I’ve come to realize that rain serves a different purpose and holds a different meaning. Rain washes away all of the dirt and grime left on the surface leaving us with a clean, fresh start. Rain rids us of our problems. Rain waters our garden, nourishing our roots giving us a push to grow and face the world. Rain is forgiveness and acceptance. Rain is the first step to a brighter tomorrow. With each drop of rain, I no longer think of sad tears being wept instead I think tears of joy watering us, giving us a new beginning. - ASANTEWAAH OFOSUHENE / IRVINGTON, NJ In the past few years I’ve experienced what felt like a neverending, incredibly beautiful, yet unbelievably overwhelming, and at times even unbearable amount of personal growth. The type of growth that has you all kinds of excited, hopeful, in awe, stressed, confused, crying, and all too often feeling entirely alone. It’s been like a combination of bumper cars; a roller coaster; a rough ride of high highs and low lows. Sometimes I wondered if it was just a part of being in my early 20’s, a part of moving to a new city by myself and starting fresh, or just trying to find one’s place in the world. But the most amazing thing I’ve come to find is that the more I change, the more I feel like myself. It is so very nice to feel like oneself; my world is always becoming more peaceful because of it. - MANON CHANEY / HOLLYWOOD, CA (ARTWORK BELOW)

- SELINA YE / VANCOUVER, CANADA Photosynthesis. Root yourself in stable soil Substrate of substance When sprouting, It’s okay to be hesitant at first But when the time comes, Branch out, Claim your space. Indulge in the sunlight Without shame nor fear Drink up whatever you can, And don’t stop growing. Churn sweetness from what life offers Photosynthesize. and when winter comes, don’t forget, So will spring. — a guide for children of mother earth