Unlike yesterday, this morning the fog blocks out the sun; the concrete pavement and steel buildings are stark, flat grays. Even the tree branches look gray without the light.
As I walk in midtown Manhattan, I see the clouds are so low they hover between the buildings. The sight is so beautiful, I gasp. Looking across the street at the Empire State Building, I see only its first few stories; the clouds even hide the rest of the building. They have descended to the first cantilever, where the wide base of the massive structure gives way to its first indentation. The fog is so thick, you would not even guess the size of the whole building if you did not know it was there.
I will walk the length of the block, tracing the base of the Empire State Building. On a map, a city block looks so large; even in a photo of this building the sidewalk looks long. The building is so tall, the base must be large as well. But it’s not. On the ground, it is a different scale. Here in person, it is only a short block. I can walk it in … let’s see, I will count the seconds it takes to get to the end of the block.
I am there already! I can turn the corner and walk the perimeter in a couple of minutes.When I reach the corner, I gaze up. The vision is breathtaking; the swirls of the gray and white fog, the light now streaming through enough to hit and bounce off some of the tallest tree branches.
I notice how quiet the street is. Not another person, not even a car, not a sound. I have found a moment alone in a quiet fog in midtown Manhattan. How would I capture this moment? I don’t have the skill to photograph the shades as the sun breaks up the solid blocks of gray into shards of white and black, from light to dark. I will have to remember this glorious moment on my own, and preserve the vision in the memory of my mind’s eye. Its dream eye.
* * *