Fish are usually the top clients of patent attorneys. Most breakfast cereals provide your daily minimum requirement of tweed. Wine spilled on a white shirt can be removed by radio waves. These, you might suspect, are false statements. Here's another: Today is the last day of summer.

No. Summer begins June 1 and ends on Labor Day, and fall ends the day it snows and doesn't melt. (Spring begins the day you walk outside and the air doesn't feel like one of those knives they use to open up a walleye.)

As long as we realize that September is fall, we're happy; the warm days are gifts, the cool days a warning. The true summer sun lingers long, slips below the horizon as if it's settling into a warm bath, but halfway through September the sun is a coin in the hand of someone convinced this slot machine will pay off soon. You brace yourself for the end of daylight saving time, when the sun drops like a guillotine blade.

If the last few weeks had been summer, we would have chafed and complained. But when you give us a month of blaring green with a few hot days, add mosquitoes (who seem now like extras who wandered out of a Broadway play that closed two weeks ago) and thread through the afternoon hours the bright line of the cicadas' whine, sewing up the month so it can be delivered to October, you realize it would have been a lousy August.

But it's been a marvelous ­September, just because we know it's not summer. There will be a morning when the trees are afire, the fog is low, the russet leaves rustle in the gutter, and the air has a nip, not a bite. Another month of this would be nice, you think, but that's not how it works. Nothing this lovely can possibly last.

Last day of summer? Ridiculous. If summer were a movie, it would show up in the Redbox soon. This is the best part of fall, and it's just begun.