How the Skies in New York City Have Gotten Better Since I was a Child

Skies Much Hazier When I was a Boy

The sun’s gravity is about 27.9 times the earth’s gravity. The sun’s temperature is about 15,000,000 degrees Kelvin at its core, about 5770 degrees Kelvin at its surface. The sun’s eminence in human culture is unrivaled. Virtually every culture in its archaic period had some form of solar deity. The light from the sun takes about 8 minutes to reach the earth, which means what we see when we look obliquely at the sun, or through appropriate lenses at the sun, is the past; we are seeing eight minutes ago. Every second the sun converts about 5 million tons of matter into energy. The density of the sun’s core is more than 8 times greater than that of gold; yet, the material at the core is still gaseous because of the extremely high temperatures at the core. In fact, the sun’s core is actually plasma, ionized gas.

Never stare at the sun with the naked eye . . .

I once imagined having those eye contraptions that Alex had on his eyes in A Clockwork Orange to keep his eyes from closing while watching the movies that were supposed to help reform him and make him sick to his stomach at the thought of or incitement to violence, only instead of film to watch with these clamps to keep the eyes opened, my face was pointed at the noon time sun whereby by corneas were seared inside my eyeballs. I then proceeded to close my eyes and walk around my apartment as if I were blind as I would be if I had had my eyes kept opened and pointed at the sun as my imagination allowed for this what-if of blindness . . .

I wish there was something to say about my Great Aunt Mae who lived in Pittsfield in the heart of the Berkshires of western Massachusetts about seven miles North east of Lenox where Hawthorne lived when Melville would visit him while writing part of Moby Dick on a farm just at the outskirts of the former, my mother’s hometown of Pittsfield. Others have said what they have about memory, about their memories of her, of me with her, in her care during the summers I’d spend there, in Pittsfield, away from the grime and the sweat and the litter of the city, New York much hazier in the sixties when I was a boy, cars still the gas guzzlers we learned to despise by the mid seventies.

Fuel and engines changed as the Federal government and the EPA decided to force industry in America to produce more cleanly as they had already in New England for decades. The federal government is still behind New England when it comes to environmental protection, New England States were the prototype for clean green industry for several generations before the rest of the country. There is more in the heaven and earth of anyone’s story than could told by anyone’s narrative, how much exposition is necessary is something Tolstoy should have considered. You know that Anna Karenina is a short story except for the expositions. Excuse me, but I digress; in fact, I do nothing but begin and end in digression, that is, as far as what you get to glimpse, to hear, are you listening–what do you see?


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