Some kids are playing basketball somewhere in the neighborhood. I hear the distant shouts, and the thwack of the ball on the pavement, and, faintly, the thump of the ball against the backboard. The light is almost gone, but they continue their game. The days are not getting longer anymore. I know why the game continues. I remember being reluctant to let the last bit of a summer evening's light go unused. We would continue playing far into the gloaming, until we were little more than flickering shadows of ourselves, guiding our movements as much by sound as by sight. There were streetlights where we lived, but they were dim and far apart, and frequently broken by local vandals. Eventually, it would grow so dark that we would be forced to stop, and each return to our lighted houses. The ends of the day then would leave me with such a sense of melancholy that I sometimes wonder how I ever become nocturnal, and now welcome the arrival of darkness.
Oh, the game has stopped. There are goodbye calls and the sound of a door loudly closing. I don't hear a parent shouting Don't slam the door! The night has fallen silent, except for the chirping crickets and the occasional hum of a car passing along the main road. Empathy or memory brings a fleeting trace of that old melancholy, but it is extinguished by the anticipation of moonlight and stars and the impending departure of the day's heat. You're only young once, thank goodness.