New York City, January 9, 2013

★ The morning looked clear, but the sun never appeared. Instead, the sky went from an ambiguous, featureless blue-gray to a featureless gray, then on to the mottled gray of indisputable cloud cover. Dampness hovered at sidewalk level, a clammy invisible fog. The CNN sign over Columbus Circle said it was 47 degrees, but no one seemed to be enjoying it. In the office, it was time to turn the desk lamp back on again, against the gloom. Only after dark, when hopes were lowered and the floating moisture softened the lights all around, did it become anything like pleasant.