★ The old snow on the ground and the mist off the snow joined and blended with fresh fog, a curtain of daguerreotype white drawn all around. On the north side of the common, the snow cover was fraying around the edges, exposing matted grass and scattered dark-red twigs. Holiday decorations were emerging, once-festive seedpods gone wet and rotten under their gold paint. One quaint restaurant after another solidified into view, none of them open for breakfast. Elderly Yankees stalked by in near silhouette, lumpy and beflapped with fleece and assorted layering pieces. Dampness pressed in around the tall-standing house of the poet. Why would one leave one's room, really, in this horizonless winter? Three days of this white and gray had made it seem possible that the mists were an enchantment around the little archaic town—but now on the road out, the fog lay too over the Chili's and the Courtyard by Marriott, thick and mundane. Now, briefly, there was a yellow glow to it, testimony that the sun still existed; now even the highway signs overhead were unreadable. Sometimes the gray was paler than the trunks of the birches and sometimes it was darker. Between rock outcroppings, it deepened to the color of thunderclouds, and then off beyond the railings of an elevated stretch of road—a bridge? a viaduct?—it glared bright white. It lifted a little, as the miles went by, and lowered again. The windshield got smeary. The top half of downtown Springfield was missing. In Hartford, all but the tips of the buildings were showing. But then Bridgeport was obliterated. Within striking distance of the city, in the confusion, a wooded parkway led deeper back into Connecticut, the last thing anyone wanted. An off-ramp and an on-ramp in the green dimness, a little weight on the Mazda's accelerator, and there was the right road, opening out soon enough toward the high bulk of Manhattan, the immense and innocent spaciousness of the city, where only the faintest of drizzles was falling.
Monday, January 14th, 2013