New York City, July 30, 2017

★★★★★ The light was unstoppable, thrusting everywhere into the shade. Bare limbs moved in dazzling curtains of sun. The people in exercise wear and the people dressed up for church looked equally, interchangeably content and composed. There was no line at the bakery. Pigeons crowded around food on the pavement while young dancers crowded the entrance to the adjoining dancewear store. Dappled spots flickered furiously on the sidewalk as the wind moved the leaves. It was stunning to be out in, genuinely stunning, so that walking back indoors brought on grief and confusion. A new errand, even a stupid one like running out to replace a block of undelivered sharp cheddar, was a blessing. The sun just after two o’clock shone straight to the bottoms of the drains and the spaces under sidewalk grates. Clothes were short or loose not in terror of the heat but because the conditions asked for nothing but skin, because there was nothing but pleasure in carrying a body around through perfect air in perfect light. The shabby lust of Zeus descending was too small a metaphor for what was falling everywhere. The people walking past advertisement signs were more attractive than the flat figures posing behind them. Wind blew in the cab windows over the knees like the ideal of air conditioning. Tree canopies and building tops were so overloaded with color and shadow they looked ready to topple. A low gold-and-glass storefront of banks on Third Ave was insane, a temple to madness, speared through with blinding beams. Across town a woman crouched in the street to point her camera at the arched Italian facade of the little Presbyterian church on 65th Street, its yellow bricks saturated with the indirect illumination from above. At home the sun was spilling under apartment doors out into the hallway. Even the bathmat, wrinkled on the floor of its windowless room, caught a glow in its folds.

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