Timeframe: the late ’90s and early 2000s.

The moment August began, there was a shift to my summer days. We had a blend of seasons all within the thirty days. Always, for a week–maybe two–there would be the infamous “dog days of summer.” We suddenly would have our temperatures shoot into the 90s and humidity would hang on our skin. “These are what they call the dog days,” my grandmother would say as we took a walk around the block. My grandparents often visited in August prior to their long drive to Florida for the winter. “Dog days,” I would comment. “Why are they dog days? Are there dogs?”

I still do not quite know why the term is what it is. But I knew what it meant, that the full blast of summer heat would find its way to the Catskills from the south and we would have uncomfortable nights with fans running all the while.

And all the while, there were the subtle hints of upcoming autumn. The leaves would not be a consistent green anymore; each tree held a different shade. The tall grass lost its brightness. It would become brittle, dull, and eventually begin to yellow. Nights grew cool, the days shortened, and back to school commercials started popping up on the television.

The moment we would begin back to school shopping I was ecstatic and looking forward to the end of summer. The smell of new erasers, the crisp pages of a brand new notebook, the folders that had no bends in the corners. I would organize and reorganize my book bag then go through my growing, new wardrobe until I had the perfect first day outfit in mind.

All the while evenings became golden and there was the sense of finality to the air. Each evening was more appreciated, each one held more emotion, as it seemed to be silently understood that everything was about to change with summer’s end.

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