My original plan was to walk along the Hudson from Fairway at 125th Street till the little red lighthouse right under the GW Bridge. I could see that the river was calm and the air was thick, still and weirdly warm. I knew it would be cooler and possibly breezier by the water and wanted to connect with a beloved patch of the island before everything got tossed around.
But before we had even walked up to Grant's Tomb, HOBB proclaimed himself out of breath, sweaty and generally unable to take a step further.
Though disappointed that our excursion had come to a screeching halt (and a tad alarmed), I couldn't fail to notice the strange quality of the air, which was so heavy as to be suffocating. We found a bench and sat down while HOBB caught his breath. Sparse groups of people walked by; mostly tourists, judging from their accents. The sky was dull grey. There were no birds. There was a distinctly ominous feeling.
It was then that it hit me -- "the calm before the storm" was upon us, deceptive as the quiet and ordinary psychopath-next-door.
Our traditional Shabbat walk was chaperoned by a dangerous incarnation of Mother Nature.