THE BROWN TONES of things under the gray sky were a little warmer and ruddier than before. Bare limbs were filled with twigs, which caught the light as the gray retreated from west to east. It was mild enough to be worth unmasking and letting the air and daylight hit the face. The avenues were so empty of traffic it was as if the pedestrian-zone barricades from summer and fall were still up. The cry of a red-tailed hawk came down as it circled not too high up, cream and rust showing in the sun. The afternoon light was not especially strong but it lasted past five, into a blue and uneventful evening. Small snowflakes fell straight down in the night, evenly spaced.