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This summer felt different. In August, my family came home from vacation to an Austin singed by heat; to ocher lawns and burnt leaves and highs of 106, 107, 109. The days were both deeply melancholy and surreal. Neighborhood streets were empty by midday, while cooler places, like Barton Springs Pool, were thronged at sunrise. We sometimes call heat oppressive, but by August we’d gone beyond that. The oppressor had won, crushed the resistance, made us stupid and strange.And then it was football season. My son, a tall, slim basketball fanatic, told me in the spring that he wanted to play for his middle school’s team, though he’d never played tackle football before. I had some qualms, but I talked to the coach and managed…
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