New York City, February 24, 2013

★★★★ A reprieve. Instead of snow or rain, what came spilling out of the morning clouds was sunshine. The clouds consolidated again, then continued to de- and reconsolidate through the day. A lost cluster of balloons, purple and green, rose straight up all the way past the tower tops before it found enough wind to carry it off. In the park, clouds of gnats flickered by the locked gate to the Sheep Meadow. On the unfenced side of the path, winter had beaten the ground to bare, slick muck, but all that could touch the meadow was the sun, making a lustrous yellow-green velvet of it. Puddles lay here and there on the pathways, none of them amounting to a real obstacle or even much of a lure for the toddler. The clouds closed over again, but no one missed the warmth enough to complain. The children clambered up an outcropping of schist, commandeering the ancient rock with the full authority of the moment.