We drove to Vermont last Friday, nine hours in the car with the kids, as you do, then turned around and drove home and when we got back the seasons had changed. There was an unmistakable charge in the air, big waves thumping into the beaches, and the wind blew steadily, crisply, offshore, to the delight of the surfers. Our rental house filled up with black flies from the salt marshes. They had followed us in the back door when we tried to have dinner on Labor Day outside, and they now take turns attacking my ankles, then copulating on the kitchen table. But underneath the weather, a more palpable change had taken place.