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Bumming around online this morning, I came across this photo taken in Bronx back during the blizzard of 2010. It’s starkly beautiful somehow, and reminded me of the opening scene of Swordspoint:
Snow was falling on Riverside, great white feather-puffs that veiled the cracks in the facades of its ruined houses; slowly softening the harsh contours of jagged roof and fallen beam. Eaves were rounded with snow, overlapping, embracing, sliding into each other, capping houses all clustered together like a fairy-tale village. Little slopes of snow nestled in the slats of shutters still cosily latched against the night. It dusted the tops of fantastical chimnes that spiraled up from frosted roofs, and it formed white peaks in the ridges of the old coats of arms carved above the doorways. Only here and there a window, its glass long shattered, gaped like a black mouth with broken teeth, sucking snow into its maw.
Let the fairy tale begin on a winter’s morning then, with one drop of blood new-fallen on the ivory snow: a drop of blood new-fallen on the ivory snow: a drop as bright as a clear-cut ruby, red as the single spot of claret on the lace cuff. And it therefore follows that evil lurks behind each broken window, scheming malice and enchantment; while behind the latched shutters the good are sleeping their just sleeps at this early hour in Riverside. Soon they will arise to go about their business; and one, maybe, will be as lovely as the day, armed, as are the good, for a predestined triumph.
The picture’s entirely too open, of course. But something about people trudging through a worn-down part of town turns my thoughts entirely too easily to Riverside. (One of the best book-openings I’ve ever come across, incidentally; and nowhere near as pastoral as those paragraphs make it seem.)