New York City, November 18, 2013

★★★★★ Where the forecast had promised drenching rain and howling wind, daybreak instead brought a pale blue sky, with gray and white shreds of cloud blowing away. All that remained of the bad news was wet ground, quickly drying, and a few trees stripped bare, and an ugly green line offshore on the radar app. The sky cleared out entirely; the construction crew, not as far down below the window as before, steered the hose from a pumping boom as it spewed a floor’s worth of wet concrete. The power trowel cast a sharp shadow as a lone worker, trailing the rest of the crew, steered it across the smoothing and lightening slab. The breeze was lively. Downtown, heading down Lafayette, it was possible to walk face-first into dazzling light and warmth, the passing details floating indistinctly. On Prince, though, there was no bright side of the street left. The sun, inexorably descending the analemma, had now lost the churchyard wall. It was necessary to go looking for the light — up to the roof, following a timer set for 30-minute intervals, to ensure the brief afternoon would not escape. A small bee or wasp buzzed around the trembling red depths of the brightest of the Japanese maples in the planters, drawn to either the promise of sap or the illusion of an unscheduled blossoming.