New York City, October 18, 2017

★★★★ Light was in the leaves of the plane trees; a smell of bacon was on the air. The southwest corner of Union Square was full of birdsong. A man in a sportcoat and faintly tinted glasses stared at the chess players for a moment, then made his way down to the Citibikes. In the mesh side pocket of his backpack was an apple. A fine springlike haze crept over everything. A sunbeam was no wider than the yellow sweatshirt of the figure walking in it down an otherwise dim street. The top of a polished stone bench by Lincoln Center pulled the eye vertiginously down into the inverted heights of reflected sky and building. Sunset was a smooth, darkening full spectrum, part rainbow and part bruise. The forecast had specified a starry night, and so the children clambered up by the bedroom window—lights off, doors shut, blinds raised—and stayed there till Altair had revealed itself high up and certain. Other, fainter stars were with it, off and on, for the eye to catch if not hold.