One of my joys of summer is taking a hot, sweaty run and finishing on the shores of Lake Erie where I pull off my shirt and shoes and plunge into the refreshing lake—floating, cooling off, recovering. Every time I visit the summer place in Canada I look forward to this ritual. But now it’s near the end of September, summer gone, and the morning temp is cool and the run didn’t make me so hot and sweaty, and when I finish at the lake an overcast sky diffuses the sun and the steely water is not as inviting as it was in July and August and I think maybe I won’t go in. Could be just a bit too cold. Maybe not so relaxing. But then I admonish myself with some of that self-talk: if I don’t go in now then I might not go in next time or the time after that, and this ritual plunge will become just one more thing I don’t do anymore because I’m old or lazy or too sensitive to the cold and so fuck it, off come the shoes and the shirt, and I march into the water and suck in my breath at the cold and when I dive I feel a beautiful bracing chill. But don’t expect the same in October.