New York City to Boston and Cambridge, May 30, 2013

★★★ The sweltering morning had to be faced in long pants and lugging jackets, in anticipation of the deep freeze aboard Amtrak. The tint of the train windows emphasized the brownness that hovered like a dust cloud in the air over Queens. The picturesque waters of Connecticut were scummy and brownish too, but the cormorants and heron didn’t mind. The brightness and motion kept the toddler awake, and the wakefulness made him start screaming and keep screaming, till he had to be removed from human society and held in the hot, dim metallic-scented passage between cars, where the screaming subsided. Further up the coast, the tinge on the horizon was more pink than brown, and the water was blue. The beach between the rails and the ocean was full of sunbathers, pale ones and tan-roasted ones. In Boston, the air was clearer still, the sun shining brightly on the underserved cab stand outside Back Bay Station. Islands in the harbor were in view from the hotel windows, as were more sunbathers, framed by ductwork in the open eye over the hotel pool below. The Charles was dark-flecked, with backlit sails scattered all over it. Immense bees bounced in the air off the boathouse railing, behind the bartenders, and the buildings off on the skyline were washed with rose.