Six boys with swords, or rather, long sticks and blunt plastic tapers wielded like swords, move up and down the driveway, travel the thin strip of concrete between a van's wide black side and the border of lawn, slosh back and forth like waves in a tank. The porch lights are on, the boys a bit more epic in the glow. If they see me on my evening walk, the boys take no notice, even as I pass by.
Last summer the heat was record-setting. Even now I'm told not to get comfortable, the mid-90s of July a false start to unrelenting 100-plus days that will last into September. Last summer, Dustin's barber gave him what is probably my favorite Dallas advice: "Don't let anyone tell you the summer of 1981 was worse than this." I don't doubt that the dog days are yet to come. I believe the faithful when they say it will be bad. But it's strange to me there isn't more said about the shoulder season, these days that would be hot except you can know how hot it can get, the evenings that still manage to cool down to something resembling pleasant. The evenings, in fact, are kind of lovely—the light hanging late, the air too warm to believe it's time to go home.
The boys are still there an hour later as I loop back on my own way home, but now they have settled some, a few are sitting. They are no less boyish in their repose. The porch light seems brighter now. They have yet to put down their swords.