New York City, December 10, 2013

★★★★★ Dark figures scurried across Broadway down in the brown light of a morning without sunrise, activity in the stillness like the audience unwrapping cough drops and turning off cell phones. The baton and… snow! A swirling vista of it, all at once, a multitude of flakes turning everything pale gray. Heavy and then, in the next movement, heavier — undifferentiable now, the morning turning twilight blue. Flakes stuck to the window, melted, and trickled darkly down. Now the nearest flakes were tiny, like a darting swarm of insects; now they were fluffy, slow-floating shapes like cones or bird’s nests. The banging noises from the construction site below carried on through it all, while the arborwork where the next floor would go was a field of white bars. One movement followed another, the waves of snow gradually diminishing and the spaces between growing clearer and brighter. By midafternoon (by the clock; late afternoon by the allotment of daylight), the storm had passed, with no real accumulation or lasting annoyance. The cold was sharp, but the wet ground wasn’t freezing into slickness. The clouds assumed a gentle and puffy aspect, with blue coming through them. Some teenager, escaping high school, was able to scrape up a snowball’s worth of slush from somewhere, to throw at another teen walking up ahead and miss, the slush smashing to bits by the McDonald’s trashcan. The sun coaxed gorgeousness out of the south-southeastern skyline of Columbus Circle and dabbed pure yellow on three or four yards of the cornice of gloomy apartment building before it made its final descent, flaring out of the clouds and spreading coral light across the Hudson.