We have come to think of Labor Day, not the autumnal equinox, as the end of summer. The Hildreth Elementary and Bromfield schools are back in session, the high school sports season has begun, and night extension classes at area colleges will start soon. That family vacation to the beach or mountains is just a memory, an album of Instagram images, an entry on Facebook. Our roads and trains are full of cars and commuters. At the office, every chair is taken when the Monday morning status meeting convenes, and there’s a sense it’s time to tackle that big project you’ve postponed for weeks, time to get back to work.
But summer is not over, either meteorologically or astronomically. The lifeguards at Bare Hill Pond left for classes two weeks ago, but the beach remains open to swimmers and boaters; the water is warm and clear, and there’s room to spread out a blanket and finish that book you started in July. The trees in town have barely begun to color, and there’s never been a better time to hike or run our many conservation trails (pick up a copy of the Conservation Trust trail guide, “Harvard Trails,” in the General Store). Our farmstands brim with tomatoes, peaches, and corn (see this week’s “At a Farmstand” column).
A morning paddle on the Nashua River or a walk along a trail in the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge (with plenty of DEET) has the feel of an outing in a remote corner of Maine. On a clear night, the constellations of late summer still glitter, and no sweater is needed (yet) to step outside and confirm their positions. There’s still time for family dinners on a screened porch or around a backyard chiminea, and this week, pitching a tent on your lawn or hauling a mattress onto your patio for outdoor sleeping can seem like a camping trip to the White Mountains.
Sure, the sun comes up later and sets earlier, but with temperatures soaring again this week, it’s hardly the time to declare an end to the season and ignore its remaining charms. We’re blessed in Harvard with the best that New England has to offer. The snows of January will be here soon enough.
Editor’s note: A version of this editorial first ran in
the Sept. 10, 2015 issue of the Harvard Press.