It took me decades to figure out that the New York City summer ends emotionally, but not literally, at Labor Day. Back to school supplies, best-of-fall media previews, and chilly boutiques stocked with winter coats all conspire to convince me that fall has started. In reality, it's still wretchedly hot. The summer sun continues to laser the concrete, my iPhone says it "feels like" 100 degrees, and a short walk outside is an act of faith and resilience. Inside, high humidity swells all my apartment doors so that they jam their jambs. They grunt with complaint.
The dog days of September?
I dial back to the August morning I awoke at a friend's beachside cliff house in Encinitas, California. From my perch on high, I watched a dog race joyfully through the surf while his owner trailed languidly behind with leash and morning coffee. A great splash of ocean lies between them. It's that cool, empty space I jump into now.