A SPARROW OR something like a sparrow perched in the sun in the newly bare top of a tree. By the time the binoculars could be dug out, only the empty branches were there to be seen. A pruning crew had taken dead or unwanted limbs off the honey locust tree, leaving fresh bright circles, red ringed with white, against the dark bark. The foliage gathered more and more light as the sun moved past lunchtime into afternoon, and the leaves trembled in the breeze. A layer of warmth floated over the still-crisp air. Along the street the trees had gone over to single colors, like paints newly dolloped on a palette: crimson, burnt sienna, cadmium yellow. A cornice line looked drawn with a ruler. Lumber frames for sidewalk Christmas tree sales were up but vacant. Walking out with bare ankles was a mistake but not a serious one. It was pleasant with no tinge of the unnatural—more an October day than a November one, but not entirely out of season.