New York City, December 3, 2012

★★★★ Moist and moderate, a day misplaced from some other month or latitude. The chill in the air was mild, to be welcomed through an open jacket or an open window. Surely there were extra errands worth running out in it, excuses to take a stroll — but the clock and the daylight had not abandoned their December duties. Just after 3 p.m., out the office window, the sun was already behind the roofline. Forty minutes later, there were still rays stretching across the roof, if you chased up the fire escape after them. Then, already, inevitably, it was the long night again.