New York City, January 8, 2014

★★★★ Brutal still, but relenting. The Hudson in the distance gleamed in irregular spots. Double layers of socks caused a squeezing pain somewhere among the metatarsals on the walk west. Up close, the river was frozen over by the shore; the ice had fractured around the old crumbling pilings, so that each one poked up of its own jagged little pyramid. The bike bath and the park were completely empty, emptier than they’d been for the hurricane. One man and a dog were out at the end of the pier. A raised rim of snowy ice traced the undulating line where the solid freeze and the plates of floating ice were slowly colliding, the irregular lozenges heaving imperceptibly and then perceptibly. Further out, the ice made a hissing sound, punctuated by scrapes, as it flowed clear of the pier. Downtown, it was possible to forget a hat in the depths of a parka pocket when emerging from the subway. Sunshine was bright on the bricks and the mortar. By the end of work, under a white half-moon, it was an ordinary cold winter night. Hands without gloves no longer burned.