White Skies


The sky is white today. I walk under it some twenty blocks one way, then back, looking up most of the way. Fifth Avenue is lined with 19th century buildings that are generic at street level, each defined by the stores that rent their feet, but most are capped with some sort of interesting cornice. Carved figures, repeating motifs of coiled leaves, plaques commemorating business closed for decades; squat water towers aim skyward from their rocket launchers.
The trees are partially undressed these days. Through the blocked-in masses of the remaining leaves, branches jut like umbrella ribs. Every so often, an abandoned plastic bag or the remains of a fistful of birthday balloons dangle and sway.
All these shapes — lumps and sticks and lines — dance and reshuffle themselves as I move down the street. The planes glide past and the negative shapes undulate and regroup themselves. The city draws and redraws itself on the white sheet of the sky.