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 HÈctor 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.