New York City, September 24, 2017

★ At 8:30, already any exertion beyond the minimum would bring the heat pressing in. Forty-five minutes later, just stepping out into it again was enough. The elevator was crowded with people trying to get outside, and the line at the coffee shop stretched clear out the door. The middle of the day married the thick heat of high summer with the sharp, dazzling light of fall. Walking into the sun made the scalp sweat. A trip to the playground brought the six-year-old back sweat-drenched and mosquito-bitten. The mosquitoes and mildew were both on the attack, more than they had been in the worst of July. There was never a cloud in the sky. The west turned smooth yellow, then on through the other colors to twilight. Some invisible irregularity caused the sequence to mix ever so slightly, sending blurry and edgeless fingers of  pink up into the blue.