New York City, February 5, 2014

★★★★★ “It’s so fun, the snow,” the toddler said, with the confident judgment of innocence. The world was suiting his desires now at midday. He had been up and yelling at half past three in the morning, most likely stirred by the brilliant pink glow coming through the windows, the unreal snow light. I want to sleep in the big bed. The glow had also pulled the adult further out of grogginess than usual, into competence: No. Lie down. No. Go back to sleep. Now. By the time everyone woke up again, the pale blur of fresh, accumulating snow had changed over to something else, wet and grotesque. Ice was building up on the windows; sheets of ice were bursting loose and coming flipping down through the air, end over end, dozens of fragments plunging past like titanic snowflakes: the size of dollar bills, sheets of paper, shoebox lids. A broken triangle as big as the top of a coffee table. Meteorological-architectural horrors. The drizzle outside was imperceptible if you had your back to it, harsh if you turned to face it. Lakes of loose slush swelled behind dams of firmer slush. The trees were glazed and stubby icicles dangled from a restaurant’s festive outdoor light bulb strands. Strollers wallowed or jammed to a halt. Crossing the median of West End with one required a portage. The basic urban assumption, that things would ultimately be passable, was null. The trains were by all accounts hopeless. The toddler, in his lurching stroller ride home, wanted nothing more than to get his rubber boots on and get back out, at once. So: “So fun!” The little boots tramped an excited loop in the snow in the building garden. By now the drizzle had turned into a light rain, darkening the child’s coat. Apocalyptic ice fragments were still plummeting and shattering with each new gust of wind, but up close they were paper-thin, harmless. It took no effort at all to make dense snowballs, or a tiny, heavy snowman. For eyes, there were the bud-ends of freshly killed green twigs, strewn on the frozen top crust.