Walking warmly through a city winter

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On very cold mornings in New York City, I wear my warmest suit, a heavy sweater, a long wool scarf, gloves, and an old winter coat. Galoshes protect my black-leather shoes from the slush. For headgear, I put aside my elegant borsalino and wear a knitted cap to keep my ears warm. On top of the cap I plunk a fur hat.

In New York we are walkers, whatever the weather. I am now ready to join fellow residents on the city's streets. They, too, have abandoned elegant outerwear for warm clothing gathered from the deepest recesses of apartment closets. With faces partially concealed by scarves to ward off Arctic winds, we resemble wandering bands of desperados.

Athleticism is useful, broad-jumping in particular, as I leap from curb to roadway, and vice versa, when crossing slush-filled streets.

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By the time I reach the subway station, almost a mile away, my fingers are numb. It is not easy to dig a token out of my pocket for the turnstile. I stand on the frigid platform. The subway arrives, the doors open, and I enter a car. How I welcome the warmth of its interior!

I survey the bundled-up passengers in their winter costumes. Some are from Asia and the Caribbean. As the subway speeds underground through a dark tunnel, they may recall with nostalgia scenes from earlier in their life; perhaps palm trees swaying gently under a tropical sun.

But winter has more to offer than physical discomfort. On my way to this same subway station, I go through Central Park, passing snow-covered meadows with ice crystals glinting in the sun like diamonds. The wooden park benches have snow as their only occupant. Dogs, let off their leashes, dance in the snow; they have not seen any for two winters.

And at night my bedroom is brightened by the moonlight reflected on the adjoining snow-covered rooftops. Aromatic smoke from wood-burning fireplaces rises from chimneys. From the window I watch winter clouds pass over the city on their way to the open sea.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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