★★★ Starlings scuttled in the curbside trash, picking at the ruins of discarded pink-frosted cupcakes. The northern sky was patterned, mostly white on a broken field of blue. The east was still mother-of-pearl. The schoolyard was a salt flat. One of the more rambunctious boys was seeing how long he could hop on one foot, with a partner held the other, before falling. He kept trying till both knees of his trousers were streaked with salt. The sun came on stronger. Goodbye, for now, to the hulking parka. There was an intimation of spring in the angle and the quantity of light, but the wind was still cold. A nice February day.