+0
I remember walking across 62nd Street one twilight that first spring, or the second spring, they were all alike for a while. I was late to meet someone but I stopped at Lexington Avenue and bought a peach and stood on the corner eating it and knew that I had come out of the West and reached the mirage. I could taste the peach and feel the soft air blowing from a subway grating on my legs and I could smell lilac and garbage and expensive perfume and I knew that it would cost something sooner or later . . .." (Joan Didion, "Goodbye to All That," Slouching Towards Bethlehem)

"that first spring, or the second spring", what does the writer mean by the first spring and the second? Perhaps, it's context dependent and the writer is referring to some particular springs.

"mirage", what does 'mirage' imply? Perhaps, again context dependent.

"grating on", is 'grating against' also okay to use here?
+0
Jackson6612"that first spring, or the second spring", what does the writer mean by the first spring and the second?
He has been in the city (New York?) for several years. The "first spring" refers to the springtime of the first year he was there.
Jackson6612"mirage", what does 'mirage' imply?
A mirage is a phenomenon in the desert where the sun reflects off the sand. From a distance it looks like a lake of water. Thirsty people, thinking it is water, will go there, only to find nothing but dry sand. Here, he has come from the west, expecting to find a situation that will save his life, but has been disappointed.
Jackson6612"grating on", is 'grating against' also okay to use here?
It is about the same meaning.
+0
It's [the air from the subway grating] that she could feel on her legs.

I could feel the air on my legs. What air? The air blowing up through the subway grating.

Grating is a noun - the same meaning as grate or an opening with bars across it.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Comments  
Great spot GG!!!
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?