When I was in kindergarten, I saw the first night like that. I thought of the article in a science magazine. “Nanny, why are the clouds red? Is it because of light pollution?” Nanny stopped shaking her fan and said hesitantly, “Maybe.” Afterwards, as the other kids listened to Nanny’s story under the roof, I looked up at the sky. The clouds that lined the black shadows of the trees overhead were pink, and bright red lights loomed out from behind cotton wool, slowly sweeping across the metallic red sky. Light pollution? But I don’t know what light pollution is. It kills turtles, so I’m sure it’s not a good thing. I’ve read comic books about red moons bringing disaster, so maybe these clouds are a sign of some kind of disaster too? That’s why they flash an ominous red light, and maybe tomorrow, or next week, monsters will fall from the sky and then everyone will die.
I was terrified, but I couldn’t look away.
Now, I’ve seen a lot of nights like that. I have learned now that I was right in the very first place. It was the high pressure sodium lights standing by the city roads all night long that lit up the sky. But it wasn’t scary now because there were no turtles around my city. If the world wouldn’t have ended yesterday, it won’t end next week either. It’s safe today, and would be safe tomorrow, and will be safe each and every day.
Occasionally at night I stand on my balcony. Below, the downtown business district is boiling in the distance, and above, rose-colored clouds silhouette the tall buildings like a bouquet of flowers in a fog.
I no longer look up in awe for them.