“[T]hat old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air …”
Wallace Stegner

September 21 may be the Autumnal Equinox, but for those who still live to the rhythm of the school year, Labour Day marks the end of summer. Summer, that seemed to stretch endlessly ahead on the first of July, now flows behind us like Superman's cape.

No matter how much I complain about the heat in summer (and I'll admit to complaining quite a bit) and how much I look forward to cool autumn days, I hate letting go of that last day of summer holidays.

 “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” 
F. Scott Fitzgerald

For me, summer is more about beating the heat than basking in it. It means beach days on cold lakes and watching summer blockbusters in air conditioned cinemas. Ice tea, ice espresso, ice drinks at discount prices from MacDonalds take the edge off days when the humidex is ten degrees above the temperature.

“It’s summer and time for wandering…” 
Kellie Elmore

I remember summers spent going from friend's house to friend's house, games of tag and hide and seek, Popsicles from generous parents and calling home to find out what was for dinner so you could decide whether or not you should accept your friend's mother's invitation.

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.” 
Natalie Babbitt

Then there were summer trips. Every year, before Mum went back to work, we'd spend a week or two with our cousins in Beaconsfield, Quebec. They lived on Lake St. Louis and had a sailboat so boat trips and swimming were always on the agenda. This is where I learned about lake-effect temperatures. In the backyard, on the lake, it was always several degrees cooler than the front yard on the street.

Then my aunt and uncle would pack up the kids and pets and come to visit us for a week or two in Toronto. We lived in the Beaches and Kew Beach Park and Lake Ontario were just down the street. If we had family visiting from England, we could also count on a trip to Niagara Falls

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”
William Shakespeare

It's funny. With all the travels and wanderings, we still got bored without the regimen of school and looked forward to seeing our school friends again. Yet, the closer we got to the first day of school, the more we long for summer to stretch out a few more days.

I suppose I'm just as bad now, complaining about the dog days of summer and still being nostalgic about it.

Thanks to Sunny O'Bosky for sending me these wonderful photos of my son Sam and his BF (and her brother) Zack taken on his visits to New Brunswick. They capture the best of what I remember of summer.