New York City, January 21, 2018

★★★★ The early light was diffuse but not so diffuse it couldn’t come rebounding through west windows and shine eastward through the pink meltwater in the glass that had held a kiddie cocktail the night before. The clouds were waxed paper with blue shining through behind them. What chill there was felt no cooler than a cold glass of water. Luminosity floated over everything, even the interior of a bus shelter. No fair excuse was left not to bring out the skateboard that had appeared beside the Christmas tree—even if it took visits to two sporting-goods branches to come up with a set of pads for it. A helpful dad, circling the playground on a skateboard of his own, showed the six-year-old the rudiments. The top of the deck quickly grew white with salt, and eventually the boy’s puffy jacket was whitened too. The board zipped off on its own, to find and ride up on the low hump of snow surviving by the fence.