We are facing down the barrel of our sixth winter here in New England. By now we know, pay the money for the plow guy, put the snow tires on the van, get the wood pellet stove cleaned, get the expensive boots... We try not to think about it until October, but the other day, while battling summer colds, Miriam declared, "We're sick because it's almost winter!" It is not almost winter. It's August. In August, the shift starts. The early, under-achieving trees just quit trying. Their leaves start to change. The weather, unlike most places, usually isn't deadly hot like it is in July. Here, August feels like pre-autumn. I love summer. I especially love it in New Hampshire where it is almost never too hot. It is occasionally beastly, but then we go swim. Otherwise, it's just delightful, wonderfully warm, perfect for days outside, and filthy children. August is all that, but it's also more. The light changes. No longer is it the hot, white burning light of summer. Instead it's golden. By now, in late August, it's sprinkled through the leaves earlier in the day, as the sun can't keep up it's brutal summer schedule. It slides away into dusk properly, making the shadows more pronounced, the night less distinct from the day. August is full here, with three birthdays. Then we head straight into school. We have two more weeks of delicious August until the school bells rings. I always am sad when August ends. How did my kids get so big? How has summer come to an end again? Are we going to survive another winter? The delicacy of August is crickets, and cool nights. It's early sunrises and chilly mornings. It's beach days that end in sweat pants and hoodies. It's popsicles and watermelon. August is rocking on the front porch while the kids orbit. It's new shoes and school supplies. It's hopes and plans for the new "year." August is long days and weeks, but a fast month. August is special, summer magic.