I can think of no better way to mark the end of summer than with my own end.

It’s wrapped in a pair of madras shorts by Ralph Lauren bought last week at an end-of-season sale. And look: There’s a buckle in the back, though I’m still waiting for a mass rollout of buckled chinos.

Getting them now, however, feels somehow antithetical to the spirit of summer — not to mention the spirit of madras. Buying a topcoat at a steep discount at the dawn of spring seems a sensible means of acquiring a utilitarian item. But madras shorts should be bought in the heart of summer, spontaneously and while on vacation.

In fact, a spirit of carpe diem should be the ruling ethos all summer long. And so I ask you, on this Labor Day Weekend, did you do everything this summer that you wanted to? Did you do all you could have? Will you always remember the summer of 2009?

After all, how many summers do you have left?

The other day some lines of A.E. Housman popped into my head. I flipped through “A Shropshire Lad” three times scanning for the word “summer” until I finally found the poem, and it’s about spring! Ah well, it still serves my rhetorical purposes here. Pay special attention to the second stanza. — CC

Poem II (“Loveliest of trees…”)
By AE Housman
From “A Shropshire Lad,” 1896

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.