New York City, October 27, 2013

★★★★ Seagulls were tiny flecks soaring high in the clear sky, turning from white to black and back again as their bodies alternately caught and blocked the sun. Broadway and Amsterdam was a complicated interchange for light-traffic, different streams of it bouncing downward off high apartment windows or coming low up the avenue through the leaves. The cold was no longer painful or wearying. The pumpkins in the rack outside Fairway had been picked over, but not entirely. The sun was a roving spotlight: setting aglow the hair of one pedestrian at a time in an otherwise shaded block, emphasizing a particular man in a sweatshirt at a particular window table in McDonald’s, tracing chain-link shadows up on a peeling sycamore trunk. The toddler sprinted on the smooth plastic planks of the runway on the playground climber, back and forth, till he fell harmlessly, skidding on his down-padded belly with an audible sizzle of static.