[No stars] Reeking and full of incoherent menace, like a surly drunk squinting for an excuse to take a swing at someone. The humidity was suffocating. Clouds speeding under higher clouds opened moving blue spaces intermittently. Some of the spaces were large enough to let sun through for a while, creating a brief, gruesome caricature of summer. The wind came up and blew away the bright interlude. The light turned greenish and the sky slopped out enough rain to dampen the pavement. After a while it rained again, and again, splatting on the windows in the dark.
★★★★ Low clouds were moving fast in the humid morning. In the span of a viola lesson, the dazzling sunlight had been covered up by a diffuse layer of them. In the span of a subway ride downtown, that cloud-stuff had shaped up into at least one impressively solid cloud in a field of blue; other cloud remnants drifted here and there. It was necessary or worthwhile to get out into the damp warmth to fetch lunch. Across the Bowery, the breeze was cooler. For a moment, near the end of afternoon, the lowering sun made it indoors. Then by rush hour a sort of cover of sort of clouds, mottled dusk-blue and gray, had returned.
★ The clouds, torn in places early, thickened and assumed the color of old fingernails. The ambiguity resolved into a faint drizzle. A gloomy chill seeped through the office. Out on the fire escape, it was humid and a little less cold. The indoor hoodie stayed on for the commute–accidentally at first, and then out of necessity. Uptown, there was just enough light left to search the playground till the fallen leaves began to look too plausibly like they might be a yellow diecast anthropomorphic car. The drizzle rematerialized and as night fell it intensified into a soaking mist, till umbrellas came out and the sidewalk grew slippery.
★★★★ A thick, spine-like streak of cirrus ran straight across the zenith. Light came into the playground sharp and sideways. The white parts of a mockingbird flashed as it crossed above the treetops. The leaves were going yellow generally. Maple wings were strewn on the padding under the swings. The spine of cloud slid off sideways, to the east. In the afternoon, the river was smooth upstream, the far hills in New Jersey crisp against the sky. The cauliflower would go in the oven, not a saute pan, to buy free time for one last look outside before sundown. Fading orange was on the building tops. "After I'm cold, I'm going to be warm," the three-year-old said, shivering in his t-shirt, to explain why he was refusing his hoodie. One lingering pigeon flapped in a dim and stained crevice in the next building's facade. The boy buried himself in the front of an adult's jacket, his own still unworn. Airplanes passed, showing not only their own colors but an extra livery pattern of gold.
★★★★ Colored party lights flashed from a dark apartment, persistently, in irregular sequence: shiny hanging decorations, twisting and catching the sun. The rope from the building-maintenance rigging whipped back and forth outside the window. Dilute white washed the sky, and there were yellow tips on the honeylocust branches. The air was cool on the cheeks. A little waddling dog wore a dog-garment. As Broadway opened out to Columbus Circle, the brightness accumulated like floating dust, forcing a sneeze. A crew was up on a lift stringing lights on the trees. Downtown the clouds were white scratchings on the blue. For a moment in late afternoon, a beam of light succeeded in penetrating the gloom of the office. Leaves and grit scraped along the sidewalk. Light was up in the cornices, and the luxury tower downtown was as bright as a butter knife. Even in this season of sunsets, the opalescent colors at day's end were a surprise.
★★★★ Clouds the color of heavy cream stood below whiter clouds in the morning west. Then somehow they darkened to purple before resolving into pert, rounded shadings of gray below and white above. The breeze had an easygoing strength to it. The choice between walking down to the B/D and taking the 1 was so arbitrary and narrowly balanced, it took the impact of an unyielding turnstile to shake loose the realization that one path was supposed to involve using a MetroCard. Beside the bodega downtown, the tops of the trio of trees had quietly thinned to bare twigs. The late-day glow got a few feet into the glassed conference rooms at the street side of the dark office, if not into the office proper. Bright late clouds illuminated the shaded streets, and there were scattered bits of pink up there.
★★ Near-identical shadows of torchiere lamps stood in the same place on the same wall in two different apartments, one directly above the other. The clouds knitted together uptown, but were apart downtown for a while. Blue mottled with white became white mottled with gray. Still the afternoon sun found a place over Lower Manhattan it could mostly burn through. By rush hour, the sky overhead downtown was clear and blue; uptown was nearly the same blue, but now it was the blue of twilight on clouds.
★★★★ A hazy shimmer lay over the morning. Off down the avenue, it deepened to dirty brown. Light flared and bounced; backlit green leaves glowed. It was possible to get away with short sleeves, even by the river, though more people had gone to their fall coats. Buttons of sun flashed in the wet dimples on the sidewalk of Prince Street. A long plume of cigarette smoke rose from a woman slowly pushing a two-wheeled cart. By afternoon, the brown had cleaned itself up to a luminous off-white. The three-year-old, damp-haired and bored with the wait through his brother's swimming lesson, insisted on snapping a photo of the sunlit building across the way.
★★★★ The cornfields were tall walls of brown, showing traces of pale green in their upper parts. Purple leaves sifted down over the choir where they sat in their vestments on folding chairs; the candle flames flicked back and forth and their glass enclosures swung in the breeze. But still insects were singing somewhere nearby, and red salvia bloomed in the bed along the church, even as the tops of the maples had gone flame-orange and yellow. The impression of stillness held, despite constant activity–the leaves flurrying, swifts or swallows fluttering overhead, light planes buzzing through the clear blue. A big, silent vulture glided right overhead. One of the dogs in the congregation growled under the Prayer of St. Francis. A hermit crab was brought up for blessing, its cage wrapped in a towel against the chill. Gusts kept coming, till the fluttering scriptures and collection made an early and hasty recessional for the shelter of the church proper. The sun on the early accumulated leaves cast a warm glow before the door of the parish hall. A red-shouldered hawk studied the field from a wooden utility pole across the road. Off the edge of the parking lot, the ground was strewn with red apples, and more still hung in the old apple tree. The interstate was open and clear. From the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the view stretched to the tiny Philadelphia skyline clustered in the distance. Fields by the Turnpike were rich yellow in the low sun. The rising gibbous moon was ghostly from New Jersey, but by the Manhattan evening it was sharp and bright.
★ The chill was nothing serious, fine for the short run to a late dropoff at school. All day, in fact, it would be comfortable for walking in. Even so, the gray was heavy and dispiriting. Around 1, sun started coming through the windows, and blue and white took over a substantial patch of sky. A life model shrugged her outer shirt off her shoulder in the garden as a drawing class ringed her, clutching their pads. Soon enough, though, the dimness closed in again, heavy and final, as if the brightness had never been.