When I got home, when I got the camera, when I jumped out onto the fire escape to take a picture, it looked like this. This is all that was left.
But only minutes before, as I rode along Wythe Avenue from Williamsburg to Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, and then most of all just after turning onto Dekalb— See the little bulbous shapes down at the bottom-center, right next to the building? Well, just before I got into my building to run up the five flights of stairs carrying my bike on my shoulder, in that exact spot, there was a beautiful field of mammatus clouds—so named because they resemble the shape of a woman’s breast. The sun was setting, its orange light slipping under the dark cumulonimbus that had just delivered a thunderstorm, illuminating the space between the earth and its cloudy ceiling.
Mammatus clouds are the strangest things, rare as precious rocks. The only other time I remember seeing them was during the summer I spend driving around the West with my book of clouds, looking for every new variety I could find. Here’s a picture from Wikipedia. Pretty close. But not the surrounding mystery of the city.
Why do you slip away before I can trap you, you little animal? Nobody else saw you. Will they even believe me that I did? It was only you, and me, and the moments of life that disappear the instant they happen, leaving us passing things to wonder whether they (the moments) are enough.