Three, two, one, the brothers counted down from the pool’s edge. Then a patter of quick steps and a whooping leap into the air, hanging above the water for just a blink before a double splash.
Around Mirabella Pool in the North End, people smiled softly to themselves as they lay under a warm late-summer sun. A summer that once had stretched out with endless possibilities but now grew later by the minute.
It was near 90 degrees. Labor Day falls late this year but now was just around the corner, looming with its sense of structure and responsibility.
So people came to the city pool Wednesday afternoon to soak up a last bit of summer before the pool closes for the year Tuesday and the fall routine settles in.
Kids cannonballed, and parents skimmed through page-turners. On a nearby baseball diamond, a father and son had a catch, while a mother walked with her young daughter along the harbor, pointing out to the kayaks and the boats beyond.
A young man played soccer by himself, dribbling at full speed before rocketing shots at the fence. Across the way, a couple shared a shaded bench, arm in arm.
On the playground, kids whooshed down the slide to the wood chips below, and when they got too hot dragged their parents across the park to the spray pool. As she watched her daughter dance through the water, one Boston mother tapped out a back-to-school list on her phone. It would be a busy weekend.
“I’ve put it off as long as I could,” she said.
At the pool, some said they were ready for fall and an end to such warm weather. They were ready for football, falling leaves, and crisp air. Once it cooled off and the crowds thinned out, the beach was even sweeter.
But others said summer’s end came with a tinge of sadness. Fall felt busier, more rushed and regulated, a jarring shift from the lazy days of July and August.
They might try to squeeze in another trip to the ice cream stand, but probably not. Summer had somehow slipped away.
Hilary Buskirk, 25, had loved her first Boston summer and wasn’t ready to let it go just yet.
She had kayaked on the Charles, visited Cape Cod, relaxed on beaches on the North Shore. But there was so much more to explore.
“I’m OK with summer lasting,” she said as she ate lunch on a park bench near the water.
In summers past, Caroline Fridmar would spend Labor Day weekend on Nantucket. But this summer brought a newborn girl, and most inns on the island didn’t cater to kids.
So they were heading to New Hampshire, happy to let the end of summer wash over them without pressure.
“Just enjoying it,” she said.
As the afternoon wore on, many headed for home. The father and son set out for lunch on Hanover Street, and the soccer player rested on the grass and gulped water.
The couple on the bench kissed, chatted, then kissed some more. After a dip in the pool, a young girl told her babysitter she was ready to go home. She had to pick out her outfit for the first day of school.