New York City, January 16, 2014

★★★ The usually alert preschooler overslept in the sunless morning, and without his crowing, so did the more ostensibly responsible parties. Despite the haste and panic indoors, the outside remained tranquil gray — routine winter gray, if there had been any such routine in these recent weeks. More than a dozen concrete trucks were lined up, down the avenue and along the cross street, spinning their drums.The gray persisted, rainless and constant, gray, gray, gray, till the gray turned slightly purple with sunset, then dirty orange at night. Now the light bouncing off the clouds after bedtime made it hard to get to sleep.