Twice I've traveled north of the Arctic Circle, but yesterday visitors from north of the Arctic Circle came to my neighborhood in New York City.
After a heavy snowfall, I was walking in Battery Park at the southern end of Manhattan when I spotted some handsome birds swimming in the Hudson River. They proved to be brants — sea geese who summer in the Arctic and winter on the East Coast of the United States. I learned that they have glands that enable them to drink sea water and filter out the salt and that they like to eat eelgrass and crustaceans. I hope that New York gave them a friendly welcome.
My walk was rewarding in other ways as well. The architecture of trees and grasses was particularly beautiful against the snow, and the cold, moody skies seemed to suit Battery Park's war memorials and the sculpture formerly in the plaza of the World Trade Center, which is now in the park.
In general, I find there's a lot to be said for off-season travel. In addition to smaller crowds and lower prices, as I found yesterday, there can be wonderful, unexpected experiences.