The way things are now is no longer the way things used to be. That’s what I told him when he asked. I leaned in and explained some more. Golden Hour was once our favorite time of day, I said. It was hard to explain, but I told him of those hues and the sunlight and the softness of the fading day that would cast a glow over my lawn. I told him of the moon, how it was once white and how we could see the craters in its surface. The Man In The Moon. I told him about the song and about the face and admitted that I had never really seen it like some people had. But now it wasn’t something you could see, anyway. It wasn’t there, because the sky wasn’t the same. It had been like this for years, and I could barely remember what it used to look like even though I had seen it so often for all of those years.
And the lake? The lake used to appear blue. The waves used to build and they’d crash and the only white you’d see was when the cap broke. White Caps, we’d call them. Now they waves are all white, dull, the same. He struggled to understand. The waves were blue? I nodded. If the sky was blue then the reflection made the water blue, too. And if the sky was clouded then the water was the color of those clouds. And the sun would set quietly and the water was blue except where the waves broke over themselves and painted the edges white. This is the way it was for so long. I showed him some photos on my phone and he was at once excited and disappointed. It used to be better, he said. I nodded.
What happened? The White Skies happened. At first it was just once in a while. A few days here and a day there. Then, it was more. A week now, and a week then. Then, more still. A whole month. Then a few days of blue, then another month of white. It was a steady decline, and I was thankful for that, because it let me eyes adjust to the absence of color. How can the greenest lawn look as green as it could if the sky was washed and the sun filtered? Everything was dull and getting duller. I tried to do something about it, I insisted. I told him I contacted a lawyer and asked if we could sue the people who did this to the sky. If I can spill a cup of hot coffee on my lap and sue for that self inflicted triviality, couldn’t we sue the people who stole our sky? He said we couldn’t. A country cannot be sued, he told me, citing an example that I cannot remember.
Who did this? Well, Canada did it. But isn’t grandma Canadian? Yes, she is, but she left that place for this place long before they did this to our skies. Don’t blame her, I told him. And just as we were about to walk inside for dinner a glimpse of blue to our south. Blue! I pointed. Blue? He asked. Yes, blue, dammit. Look! And just as soon as he saw it, a new pulse of smoke covered it up. Did you see it, I said? He said he thought he did. Maybe he did. But he wasn’t sure. I said we’d try again tomorrow, and maybe there will be a chance. There’s always a chance. I shook my fist at the smoky skies and cursed the Canadian fires that had burned for a decade or more. The sun would set soon, ablaze in red and orange as it forces its way through those ruined skies.