Closer to the Sun

One of my kindergartners popped into the zoom room. “Do you want to know why my face is so red?” she asked. “I got sunburned when we went sledding!” 

Oh, Colorado. 

This student’s family recently moved here from the Midwest, and this is their first Colorado winter. I flashed back in sympathy to my own lesson-learned-the-hard-way moment many years ago. 

My family moved to Colorado when I was in school at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. A Midwestern kid myself, I had only briefly visited Colorado as a teenager once. In my experience, winter equalled grey, cold, and weather forecasts that always included the words “wind chill.”

When I came out for Thanksgiving break to my parents’ new home, I was shocked by the November weather. It was all blue skies and warm enough to not just be outside in short sleeves but to comfortably sit on the deck reading. 

It didn’t even occur to me that I might get a sunburn in November. . . but I was roasted toasted in short order. 

A painful lesson, for sure.

My mom said, in that way that only someone brand new to a place who is suddenly an expert on that place, “Well, you know, we’re closer to the sun here in Colorado!” 

I remember thinking, “We’re not THAT much closer to the sun.” 

Every day in the month of March I will be blogging with the team at Two Writing Teachers Blog as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Join us!


  1. Lainie Levin

    Hey! A fellow Illinois grad. I-L-L! (Sorry. It’s a reflex.) And…only out west in the mountains can you manage a sunburn AND snow play at the same time. All we’ve got in IL is frostbite, windburn, and the possibility of snow any time between September and May. =)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lainie Levin

        Ha! My husband still has a tiny little spot on one of his ears from going sledding with his buddies on a way-too-cold day. I still think I’d prefer the sunburn option.


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