It’s a kind of strangely New-Yorky cold out lately in Santiago. It’s crisp but not bitter, but there’s a cold wind that will catch that strip of skin that shows when your shirt rides up and your pants don’t sit at your waist.
I was in the car with a friend recently driving up past El Golf and there were twinkly bluish lights strung through some straggly-limbed trees, on the sidewalk, all loops and disorganization and I said “Se ve como Nueva York en el invierno” (It looks like New York in winter).
Winter in New York is beautiful. It’s cold, but it’s Thanksgiving and Nutcracker soldiers and shopping bags and rustle and chestnuts roasted beside pretzels with towering piles of salt, and which I haven’t eaten since I was a child.
And it doesn’t smell like chestnuts here, but we do get to open our eyes some mornings and see that the mountains are out. And it probably won’t snow down in Santiago, but there’s this sense in the air that it might.
And I am 5,000 miles (more than 8,000 kilometers) from New York, but tonight I will close my eyes and wake up and it will be New York. But it won’t be winter.
At times like this I don’t know whether I’m two seasons ahead or two seasons behind, as though I wear a giant season watch on my wrist and I don’t know whether to go forward or back for the local climate. And that’s approximately the same amount of confused I’m likely to feel when I wake up on Thursday morning and find myself wearing clothes I won’t need again for weeks, by which time the New York summer will have seeped into my pores and I fall asleep and find myself back in Santiago again where it will still be winter, but will never be New York.
And I will be home.