January, Sunday, and the East End was unnaturally balmy. A cloud reclined on the ground, spreading itself generously in amongst denuded shrubbery, smudging outlines. For an instant the sun burned a hole through the heavy grey haze.
Enthused by the splash of day light I ventured out for a drive. Dirty ice and slick mud lined long residential streets. Overlooking the beach, from behind high dunes where snow obstinately clung, I watched a girl on a pecan brown pony. There was something in the way she held the reins, her arms wide and stiff, as if she was unfamiliar with horseback riding. Despite the distance I could clearly see she was smiling.
It was early afternoon and I continued on my survey. Houses appeared to slumber; shut up with curtains and blinds drawn. They did not look derelict; rather they seemed bloated and suspended, somehow, as if in the middle of a yawn. Tubs and crates had been dragged to the end of driveways, near the curb. Plastic bins stuffed with folded cardboard and red and green wrapping paper and spilling over with strings of ribbon skittering on the breeze.
Soon the remnants of the recent past will be trucked away and we will catch a collective breath and forge ahead with this new year.
Happy New Year.