New York City, February 14, 2013

★★★ Drips were still falling from the old scaffolding, and the way out of the dripline was impeded by a crew putting up an adjoining new scaffold. Birds twittered somewhere by Broadway. A man walked up Lafayette with his gloveless hand holding a gold-ribboned gold box flat and carefully. A puff of air from the subway grate met so little resistance that it still felt warm when it reached the face. Cut roses, in no danger of being hurt by the chill, flanked the sidewalk. Out the conference-room windows, the late clouds were silver wisps and custard-colored stipples. Gray shaded in among them as the minutes passed. Outside, finally, there were pink patches overhead, with a slim white crescent moon beside them.