GULLS CIRCLED HIGH and bright and slowly, tinted golden against a blue sky with a thin blur of cloud. A boy bicycled past with one bare hand on the handlebars and the other hand stuffed into a coat pocket. The Park’s red ice-ladder stations were reflected in the rippling, never-frozen water, where feeding mallards tipped their bottom halves upright. In the bleary trail the southern sun left along the surface, a drake’s tailfeathers curled distinctly. At 3 o’clock the lamps on the paths were already lit. Poplar leaves fell with little scraping or thudding sounds; a maple leaf swooped down and leveled out into a neat gliding landing, like a plane arriving on a runway. A seam in the thickening clouds stretched toward the northeast, while curving streaks frayed off its path and pulled northwestward. The new humidifier was two gallons low already.