New York City, December 20, 2012

★ Predawn darkness held on so long that the day seemed overcast, a false impression that would soon enough be true. Daylight did come, long enough to shine glassily on the Hudson and illuminate a passing airplane. Then the shroud: gray overhead, yellow downtown, and one briefly surviving band of blue uptown. At half past noon, the light was already failing, into an afternoon of edgeless clouds, directionless dim light, seeping chill. Sometime in after evening, rain must have fallen; on the way to the drugstore, the dark pavement was covered with wet grime. A rat crossed the sidewalk, from gutter to rubble pit. The last rat of autumn.