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vonknoppgoing to work these days is not so much walking as it is skating – uphill on clear ice worn smooth by people passing, slick from the thin coat of melt-water on top – the result of the last few days of thaw-freeze-thaw-freeze (it will take ages for the snow to disappear completely). walking on this kind of ice without impersonating bambi requires you to have a certain amount of skill, and a special technique: a slight shift in balance and in the way you use your hips (the Artist can’t do it, which is an endless source of amusement to me).

i was navigating an especially tricky section of sidewalk when the sun suddenly cleared the clouds and glinted off something golden in one of the maples next to the road.

nice day for it, isn’t it? he said, when i had come close enough to make him out properly. he introduced himself as von knopp, and he was basking in the sun, shifting and turning this way and that to catch as much warmth as possible. it was already starting to show results – he was stre-e-e-e-etched out of proportion, straining towards the light. we chatted for a minute before i had to hurry off again, and i would have liked to continue our conversation, but by the time i walked home the sun had long since set and i couldn’t find him.

perhaps he’ll be back another day.

 

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