August, the furnace forging autumn. Fields baked brown, the leaves of the cherry tree drooping, heat hanging in even the deepest shade, penetrating skin like the aftermath of sunburn. The insects have fallen silent in the still afternoon; not a wasp or fly or butterfly stirs the air, no buzz or chirp invades the silence. The cats doze under bushes, birds nowhere to be seen. The air is redolent of pine resin. In the orchard at the end of my street, the small green apples store up summer and fortell the approach of a gentler season. A few more hours, when the sun settles into the treetops, I will set the sprinkler on the lawn and let the fountain wake the evening under empty sky. Let night come soon, and cooler, distant stars prevail.