New York City, December 5, 2012

★★★★ Thunder in the dawn, on examination, was the sound of an excavator’s scoopload of dirt and rubble dropping into an empty truck bed, in the growing pit next door. A loosely crocheted gray cloud layer moved away, north- and eastward, revealing a seamless sheet of clouds in that direction. The sky in the west, open and blue, had a different theory of how the day should go, and by 9, that theory had prevailed. Mildness remained, but the wind tugged at hair, tugged at coats; incoming breath met the minty fumes of chewing gum and chilled the palate. In the late light of afternoon, dried-out leaves swirled and crunched over the stains left they’d left on the pavement in the rain. There were peach-colored clouds in the sky and peach-colored bands of reflected cloud across the twin eastern faces of the Time Warner building. At Amsterdam, there was a sudden blast of wind from the west, and there was nothing mild in it at all anymore.