If, when I was ten or twelve years old, someone had told me that a day would come when I'd be glad to see September arrive, I'd never have believed them. September was the time when the long days of summer were winding down and the prospect of returning to school cast a pall over the dark evenings. It was ages ago, and yet, even now when I relish the approach of autumn, the ghosts of old memories sometimes kick in, almost like an autonomous response, and a certain slant of light falling through a yellow afternoon will bring me a sense of melancholy. Should a dog happen to bark or a screen door slam somewhere far enough off to create that faint, empty echo that happens outdoors, or should I hear kids fall silent after the last round of some evening game, it is as though, for a moment, I were still that age, regretting the failing day and the declining season, trudging home through suddenly empty streets, the lamps coming on too early, the coming night's anxious dreams already lurking in shadows. Wherever you were, there you are.