There is perhaps six or 8 inches on the ground at the park. It has evaporated some since it fell, and it has been pretty well stepped on. Closer to a foot, I would say, where it butts against the street, or the plowed walkways. It has a crust, it has melted and frozen again several times at least. And it has crusted into ankle twisting, icy lumps. I know the way that it will melt, first where the sun can get, last under the trees, or where it has been compacted. There will be days of mud and the sound of trickling water. Then rain and earthworms. That will come, but not yet. Now it is still winter.
Hazel can go off the leash, in the park at night. So we did that. She likes to put her nose right on the ground, and her tail up, and follow the smells of-- well, I guess I don't know what of. Maybe rats underground, places where squirrels have gone, discarded chicken certainly, although she found none tonight. She did find a pizza box, but it was empty. And of course, anywhere dogs have been, And all the walls used by drunk men. Hazel is a urine expert. She is a dog, after all.
She and I are both middle-aged now, kind of stout and arthritisy, but we climbed the hill, until I could turn around and look out over Brooklyn, and the water, and see Manhattan, and New Jersey in the distance. I think I enjoy the view in the same way she enjoys an interesting scent. Both tell stories, I am sure. Tonight the sky is overcast, but you can still see a long way. The lady is there, with her torch, (She actually belongs to New Jersey, not New York.) And I can see from the hill, the empire state building, and the chrysler too. I suppose, once, that the twin towers would have dominated the view. They were taller than everything else. I have a little trouble imagining it though-- I did not live here then.
And I think about how every light I can see-- hundreds of them-- is a person, or many people. And each person is a story, or many stories. I can remember telling my kids when they were small, that each person you see is full of stories. Each person knows things you will never ever know. So I thought about that. The least interesting person in the city, (whoever they are,) has had experiences I will never get to have. It is easy to be moved to tears by this, on a dark quiet hillside. But the awe is less when I have to wait behind them at the bank!
Hazel was invigorated by the cold. She zoomed back down the hill like a puppy, with her tail totally limp. I zoomed a little too, there was nobody to see me being silly, after all.
Now we are back, and I really ought to go to sleep. Sleep well, all of you. You are full of stories.