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Another Year Among the Rotating Spheres

The shortest day has yet again dawned in New York City and each hour in the sunlight feels hallowed.
A flock of hundreds of birds perches in the barren trees of a New York City backyard. A row of houses sits in the background.

The shortest day has yet again dawned in New York City and each hour in the sunlight feels hallowed. On Winter Solstice of 2021, we launched the NYC Microseasons project to follow a year of seasonal shifts in this slice of the universe. We braced against the knife-like winter winds, witnessed the first butterfly of spring, watched abandoned lots flourish into summer gardens, and walked over a fallen tapestry of autumn colors. Each week was an opportunity to pay close attention to the small changes in both the natural and unnatural world, where coyotes roam the urban edges and marsh birds wade on a fragmented shore. Appreciating the droning song of window AC units along with the morning croon of the mourning doves, the chaotic appearance of potholes as well as the beautiful silhouettes of great trees, revealed that while the months seem to fly by, there are signals of time all around us. Forecasting these Microseasons encouraged us to slow down and notice even the more unpleasant parts of city life, such as the aerial flotsam that catches in the trees and wasps invading summer picnics, and consider what part they play in making this a place like no other.

We thank you so much for joining us on this journey. Although we are going to take a pause from the weekly updates, we are looking ahead to the next steps in continuing to document and share NYC Microseasons. Please reach out if you have enjoyed the project, have any ideas for seasons we missed, or just want to share your sighting of a precarious icicle, gutter chasm of unfathomable depth, or other seasonal wonder.

As we enter 2023 and continue another loop around among the rotating spheres, we hope you will give yourself time each day to acknowledge your neighborhood street trees, local birdsongs, busy squirrels, and persevering bits of nature that burst through the sidewalk cracks and out of sewer gratings. Observe the color of the sky and the shape of the shadows. These moments are ephemeral and fleeting, but you are here now to experience them.