On Sunday, we walked to Red Hook as the first cold air of winter blew in.
These beautiful lambs quarters were growing in a tree pit on a quayside street where litter rolled in the icy breeze. They are the result of the very mild start to winter, with record highs recorded, but also of the late rain we received in late November and December. Last summer, when downpours should have been tropical, was very dry, and shrubs and perennials in gardens and woods drooped. Then came the rain, and we had a small, strange spring in autumn, and then in winter.
Queen Anne's lace, or wild carrot. In January.
We found a friendly street cat, who was not a crook, and who rolled and rolled in greeting. He had food and shelter. He must be colder, now - yesterday it dropped to 15'F/-8'C and the wind was bitter.
The Queen Mary was in town.
We had planned to picnic on a pier over the water, above, but the wind blew us right back, shivering, and we inched closer to Fairway's bulk and the windbreak it offered.
From our concrete perch we watched the traffic.
And wolfed our brioche and crisp bacon sandwiches, fishing vegetables from their vinaigrette with our fingers.
And then we walked home, fast. Passing this cherry tree in bloom on Van Brunt Street. Looking at the flowers closely I think it is Prunus subhirtella, which tends to bloom in autumn and spring, so it's not as satisfyingly freaky as it looks.
It froze hard in the last two nights. The soil in the garden looks like chronically unmoisturized skin - humped and pale and rough, and the lush arugula, mustard and fava beans are gorgeous no more. The birdbath is frozen and in the morning I pour boiling water into - the birds come at once, as it steams, and so do the squirrels.
So winter is here, at last.
Despite that cherry tree.