A strange event yesterday, which I am only now beginning to understand:

We are away for the weekend, closing up the family summer house. It is about 4 in the afternoon, and everyone else has gone out for a walk, but I was too sleepy so I was left napping by the dock. It is a perfect summer-turning-into-fall kind of day: warm in the sun but cool in the shade, with an occasional strong wind. Whispy clouds moving overhead at high speed.

I was dreaming, but suddenly I was awake. Everyone stops coming to the lake after Labor Day, so I am remarkably, wonderfully alone: no boats, no people, just me and the trees and the water. I revel in the soft whispering of the breeze against the leaves, and I'm sad that Summer is over. And then I see something falling toward me: a leaf. A bright red leaf, taking its time, spinning gently as it falls, in no particular hurry on its way to the ground.

Heading right for me.

I am still not entirely awake, and I feel that this has some kind of cosmic significance. Nature or God or somebody is announcing that autumn is here, and here's a little something to get you started. A sign of things to come.

I am pleased. When it finally arrives, I put the leaf in my book.

Then I hear the flutter of heavy wings behind me. It is going to get better! Some sort of flyover! I look up as the sound moves toward me, and indeed I see two very large black crows, flying exceptionally low. But one of them has something in its mouth, something golden and large. It's...it's...

it's a toaster waffle

From the shape of it, an Eggo(tm) waffle to be precise. The birds and their cargo curl around and follow the line of the shore, and are gone. I am still evaluating this. Nature, for all its sense of drama, has an odd sense of humor.

10:30 a.m. (back in NYC)

Several odd things on the way to work today:

  • As I cross Greenwich Street on the way to the subway, I notice that there is a geyser of sorts on Bank Street, just to the left of the middle of the intersection. It reaches, by my measurement (and conveniently, there is a rather-tall-for-the-village building behind it), seven stories high. I marvel for a moment that our neighborhood infrastructure is able to provide such good water pressure, if only to the middle of the street. There is a (presumably) rather wet gentleman in a yellow hard hat standing underneath and slightly upwind of it, admiring it greatly. Traffic continues as usual.
  • The West Village is full of construction: apparently they are replacing the curbs on most of the intersections. The whole area around Abingdon Square resembles a sort of bombed-out city where the enemy was only able to hit the curbs.
  • The extremely loud woman in the orange reflective vest that yells at people to inform them which track the shuttle (the S train that runs back-and-forth from Times Square to Grand Central) will be arriving on has been given a megaphone. I am amazed by this, since her voice without amplification can curdle milk and perhaps shatter glass. Now, presumably, people throughout the Times Square area, even at street level, will be informed of the proper track number.

2:00 p.m.

It is amazingly sane and quiet in Midtown now that the United Nations conference thing is over. I just paused for a second and heard no honking or sirens coming from the street.

Oh wait, there was one. But generally it's nice and quiet.