Man-made sunsets

I learned from a Berenstain Bears book some time in elementary school that LA sunsets filled with breathtaking shades of pink, orange and purple were not natural. Instead they were caused by pollution. The book explained it well enough and eventually I learned the real science behind it from something else.

I recently began reading H√ąctor Tobar’s novel The Tattooed Soldier. I love the way he describes immigrant life in the city, but he also does a good job at explaining simple things like the sunsets I grew up admiring.

In Antonio’s country, where there were many natural beauties, the sunsets were ordinary and predictable. Here in Los Angeles, nightfall was often a sweeping and multihued event, with a majesty that suggested the coming of the millennium, the end of a planetary journey.

Someone once told Antonio it was the pollution in the air that made the evening sky this way. Like everything else in Los Angeles, even the beautiful sunsets were man-made.

2 Replies to “Man-made sunsets”

  1. dude, i love sunsets here and yeah they are manmade but i think it’s also the scenery, the way the lights turn on and the darkness is muted by the bright lights and sparklyness.

    that was good quote, ill be reserving that book from the library.

    thank god for la libraries, they are teh bestest.

  2. I lived in Eagle Rock (between Pasadena and Glendale) from birth to age 8. We lived up on the hill, and our smog ladden skyline view always put on an excellent sunset. From a young age, my mom made sure to impress upon me the fact that it wasn’t natural, but could be counted as the only wonderful thing about pollution. I guess that’s where I get my optimistic outlook. I missed that Berenstein Bears book, though.

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