The Gray Days

The sky was gray.
The sidewalk was gray.
Even the surrounding buildings were painted in the same monotone shade. On my way to work, everything was gray.

I would like to say I’m affected by nothing—that I’m a force to be reckoned with, resilient and rarely phased. I’d like to say that the end of “Big Fish” doesn’t make me cry, and that I’ve never been homesick. I’d like to say that loneliness has yet to touch this extroverted soul, and that no, I’ve never openly sobbed on a New York City street.

Because I am brave.
And I am strong.
And I am invincible, yes?

But that would all be a lie.

It would also be a complete fib to say winter has no affect on me. Regrettably, something as flippant as the weather alters my mood—and the colorless commute was becoming intolerable. This February, it seemed that even the flawless, white snow was mutilated into gray sludge the second it hit the pavement. 

(Are you feeling the heaviness of winter yet? I could describe to you gray subway cars and gray food carts. Or I could explain how the gray clouds sometimes cover up the tops of gray building, blocking out any hope of light. But then, I think you get the point… and maybe it’s all a matter of perspective.)

I knew the seasonal blues had struck when I saw a fat beagle peeing in the snow. It was greedily squatting in the middle of the sidewalk, soiling everyone’s path to the train. I might almost love dogs more than humans, but all I could think was that this selfish pup was destroying something.

“Snowflake ruiner.”

The phrase crossed my mind, and I wanted desperately to say it aloud. Didn’t the owner see that 1) her pet was grossly overweight and 2) he was turning the pretty snow into ugly, gray mush? While stuck waiting for a light to change, I starred furiously at the dog. “Snowflake ruiner. Snowflake ruiner. Snow…flake…ruiner.” It seemed my brain had taken hold of this (albeit strange) idea that the obese beagle was murdering a bunch of perfectly lovely snowflakes by drowning them in his urine.

It made me very sad to think about, so I turned away from the genocide and walked down a different street.

Then I stumbled across something quite peculiar. There, in the middle of the sidewalk, was a huge heart formed from faultless snow. It appeared that no one, except its creator, had touched the small sculpture, leaving it completely untarnished. I couldn’t help but smile at the random “street art.”

That cold, snowy heart made me forget the hesitant warm weather. I imagined other people hurriedly walking by, bundled up in scarves, sweaters, hats—the whole winter bit—catching a glimpse of something subtly beautiful; something out of the ordinary.

And despite the gray…
They might smile.

(As long as that fat beagle didn't waddle down this street.)


Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.
— Victor Hugo