New York City, November 12, 2013

★★ Up went the shade and there there were: snowflakes, zipping sideways or doing loops against the dark, drab background of the wet city. Straight, heavy rain replaced them, and then a new burst of snow, thicker and roiling, making a white blur of the river. The first-grader’s boots came out; the preschooler wore his hat. Before long, though, the symbolic performance had passed, in favor of mundane gray and cold. A swath of blue appeared over New Jersey, and stayed there, coming no closer, through the afternoon. Manhattan remained overcast, the exhausted clouds going nowhere. The clear sky to the west became a full spectrum, picturesquely dotted by dark clouds, past the ragged edge of the unmoving blanket, now dirty purple.