Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Dawn on Jefferson (aside): Why is the sky Green, Daddy?

I looked down at my son. We were snuggled up getting ready to watch the stars and the meteor shower that was coming tonight. Warm and cozy, he was tired already. Most likely, he'd pass out before the meteors would star. However, the moment of closeness and joy was amazing.

And, of course, he asked the inevitable question:

"Daddy, why is the sky green?"

I smiled and before I could answer, he continued.

"I thought it was supposed to be blue. The books always call the sky blue."

My smile deepened. He was just starting to read and there were not a lot of localized books just yet. Jefferson is a young world. We lived on the very edge of the Human Frontier, on the American world of Jefferson.

Tonight, the Red Arrows, one of the meteor showers named for the different acrobatic teams back on Earth, were going to be prominent. My daughter was off with her friends for the first time alone. Sixth graders and up were allowed to go off on their own, so long as they all went to the same area: Constitution Hill, the great granite escarpment jutting from the hilly terrain outside our town of Shadwell.

I was still smiling when I told my son:

"Jefferson has a green sky, son, because the air is a touch more dense, just a touch more, enough that the local critter that takes the role of algae on Earth floats up free in the air. In the spring and fall, the sky gets stained green from all the small cells floating in the air. Other times, the sky is blue, just like on Earth. or almost, there's a slight tinge of green since the algae don't all go away, even in winter."

"Cool. Do we breathe in all those algae?"

"Some, but fortunately, unlike the taxito and other JeffLife, its benign and doesn't cause a allergic reaction. If it did, we couldn't live on Jefferson."

He smiled and snuggled closer. He was tired. First graders had hectic crazy days and this was going to be late night. he'd definitely be out before the show started. Let him have a nap. It was a Papa-son night.

As his eyes drooped, I watched the sun fade from the cleared hill, Weathertop I'd named it, on my farm. We snuggled up close inside our taxito dome and the sky faded from green to blue to violet to black. I was content with the world as the stars, these alien stars, came out.

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