Exhausted summer's days are no longer furiously hot, but, panting like spent runners who have collapsed at the dusty roadside, sunburned and dehydrated, waiting for their breath to slow, lie still and watch the vacant sky fade into dusk. Evening brings the sustained shrillness of excited arthropods, sounding the late alarm for a season already nearly burned away. The sound sets long, wheat-colored stalks of dessicated grass vibrating in all the arid fields. Though the afternoons cling to summer, the nights quickly give way to autumn's advance. Only the heated soil holds long to the sun's memory, warming those agitated insects. The air sighs and grows cool, the trees shiver their foliage, and the stars sparkle pale blue light bereft of all heat. I lie by afternoon's side, listening to its labored breath decline, keeping watch as it passes into darkness. It will do the same for me someday.