New York City, January 26, 2014

★★ Everything superficial and fleeting. A few lost-looking clouds hung in the clear blue morning sky. Then came scraps and sheets, till by afternoon the sky was dull gray. The first shad and their roe, from some warming Southern river, had made it to the fish counter. The sidewalk was patterned with irregular salt rings. Suddenly snow was blowing up Broadway, medium-small flakes sticking readily to the coat and jeans. The snow held on long enough for the clouds to rip and divide, so the flakes and the sunlight were streaming uptown together. After dark, down in the 14th Street station, an erhu player wore a People’s Liberation Army-style quilted coat for extra authenticity. Perhaps hats with earflaps weren’t really more prevalent on the L train; perhaps the seeming abundance of hats with earflaps was merely a function of the greater number of passengers overall. Off Bedford Avenue, the thin slush on the sidewalks was freezing into slickness. It took a few turns in the low grid before the white glow of Manhattan against the sky oriented everything. Two or three hours later, the night was palpably warmer, the slippery ice gone with the rest of the day’s ephemera.