Im done.

It feels like the front porch of hell outside, and Im done. I cant even open a jar of pickles without breaking a sweat. So over it.

I used to make it till July 4th before throwing in the towel. There were bluegill spawning, trout biting, and mountain nights still cool enough for a campfire. All fine ways to spend a few hours, and pretty decent compensations for the close of duck season. Over the years, in fact, under intense pressure from my beach-loving wife, I stretched my embrace of summer all the way to my birthday.

Which is July 7. That was three whole days before I started talking about ducks again.

But Im over this 98-degrees-in-the-shade business; thats for sure.

The other evening, I ventured into the back corner of the basement, whistling Im Dreaming of a White Christmas. Julie groaned. Around my house we call this Conversion Day. I packed up the popping bugs and stowed the 4-weight flyrods. I boxed up the float tube. I pulled the fly-tying vise from the workbench and replaced it with the gun-cleaning stand. And then I turned to the metal racks against the back wall.

I didnt know plastic decoys could smile. We thought youd forgotten us, they seemed to say. As if.

Ill stick my head out of the groundhog hole a half-dozen times for doves here in a bit, but otherwise, Im getting ready for fall. Ready for ducks.

I know we dont all feel this way. Not long ago, I noticed a small patch of freshly turned earth in the backyard. I was intrigued. Ive never seen a groundhog in the neighborhood. It was too big to be a turtles nest. Maybe a raccoon excavating a tasty wad of grubs?

I went out to investigate. SMH. I imagined that Julie had snatched the brand-new Macks Prairie Wings catalog and deep-sixed it under the azaleas. She is not ready for 4 a.m. alarms and swamp mud tracked in through the kitchen. She is not done.

As it turned out, Julie didnt really break federal law by absconding with my personal U.S. Postal Service correspondence. But she would have done it if the thought had occurred to her. Because right about now, she doesnt like it, but she knows as well as I do: I am done with summer.