New York City, August 24, 2014

★★★★★ Sunshine came slamming down, and the shade was near opaque by contrast. Out on the Sheep Meadow bodies were mashed into the grass, and the grass without bodies on it was mashed down by the bodies of days before. The children made for the rocks and the trees beyond, in the farthest corner of the meadow. Walking across the open space in full sun was one of the few ways to feel uncomfortably warm. The big cumulus clouds were visibly moving at first glance, but seemed to slow down under inspection. One of them drifted over the sun, and the silvery deposits in the nearest boulder glimmered instead of shining. A bare-chested man with a ponytail and wristbands climbed quickly up the biggest rock and flattened himself out, blue-lensed sunglasses to the heavens. A huge clot of fungus was swelling from the foot of one of the oaks, and a Paraphidippus jumping spider clambered up the trunk, its metallic green markings flashing. The children sat on a bench in the shade to eat hot dogs and a stale pretzel, accompanied by irregular thumps from the sand volleyball court. A breeze found the small of the back. The two-year-old hopped down from his seat and tried out a volleyball stance. A cloud big enough to achieve grayness made things so dim, for the moment, that one of the street lights came on. Foreshortened from the edge, the Sheep Meadow was so full it was almost impossible to find a vertical or horizontal line of open green across it. On the next lawn over, a young man threw his leg over the backs of a young woman’s thighs and pressed his face into hers. The gray clouds held their majority, or at least a ruling coalition with the white. All day the balance kept shifting. The afternoon sky in the west out the windows looked as if the clouds were still keeping control, but outside, the east and the zenith revealed themselves to be wholly uncontested blue.