Have you ever had that moment of perfect lucidity? Where everything coalesces into crystal clarity? Where your life focuses into this single moment in time, like a snapshot, everything is frozen. Sights and sounds become so clear and vibrant, like you could see and hear the infinite. Even the smells are so much more sharper and invoke images, hidden memories that come unbidden but not unwelcome. Like the lady who just walked past me not but a moment ago. She smelled so good, like a warm summer day in a field filled with heather and clover. The smell was so heightened I could almost feel the summer warmth she exuded with her scent. But as soon as her scent passed, the air became chill and stale and it was cold again.
And it was cold! So cold and crisp, that it seemed to heighten my sharpened senses. It is strange that the cold works that way. The chill seeping into your skin. It is strange how it numbs your flesh and when you touch something it feels so far away. Even so, you can feel every detail along its surface.
Have you ever tasted the air, especially on a cold night? I swear I could taste snow and with that alone, I bet that tonight, the first snows of the year will fall. Tiny flecks of purity will fall and try in vain to cover the city. Snow in a city is never pretty. It turns gray as it is trampled underfoot or piled up on the sides of the road. I wish I was out in the country to watch the snow fall and slowly cover everything in a blanket of white.
Sigh... but I am stuck in the city. The city where more then snow gets trampled underfoot or piled up along the sides of the road. People rush about and walk past me, busy with their own lives. Rushing about, singly or in pairs, but no families out and about this time of night. Come to think about it, who wants to drag kids about in this cold.
It is interesting how unconcerned they seem about other people. They give little notice to each other, trying so hard to be alone in the crowd. Afraid of the strangers around them, they keep their heads down to avoid eye contact. It is as if they did, they would have to confront that person. Others take a different approach and stare straight ahead, like their eyes were high beams cutting a swath through the crowd. People seem to side step away from those people.
Yet as they rush along in their little lives, oblivious to all those around them, I know them. I feel them in the cold. The heat that floats off their bodies, ephemeral ghosts that float along behind them. Their steps along the frozen concrete sound like the breaking of glass against stone. The collage of scents mundane, exotic and rank.
A man walks along with a woman. He wears too much cologne and is busy trying to ignore the vibrating cellphone in his pocket.
There is the young lady, ill-prepared for the cold, her clothing too thin for the cold. I can hear her teeth chatter and her breath smells of peppermint as she exhales a cloud of steamy breath.
The couple walking hand in hand. Their hearts beat furiously and they give off so much heat. I could see the way they shyly looked at each other. I bet it was a first date.
I hear the sharp tinkling of a coins hitting other coins and look up. An old man had just dropped a handful of change into cup in front of me. He tells me Merry Christmas, before continuing along, shoving his hands back into his coat pockets.
I sigh and my heart sinks. Its time for me to go and I guess I wont get to see the first snows of the year fall.
* * *
Temperatures dropped to 28 degrees Fahrenheit last night in the greater Metro area and as predicted we got about a half an inch of snow. More snowfall is assured and you can expect anywhere between three to four inches by the time the weekend is done. Seems winter is here folks, so dress warm and be sure to keep your pets inside. In other news, the body of a homeless man was found last night in Addison Square. It is said he froze to death last night in the cold snap, the first casualty of what can be a long and cold winter.