The calendar has now moved into October. Canadians will soon be celebrating Thanksgiving Day and Americans Columbus Day. Leaves have turned across Ontario, Quebec, parts of Upstate New York and across northern New England.

Farther south, some yellows and reds can already be glimpsed, but the best of autumn’s annual fireworks show still lies ahead. Some have already begun to pick pumpkins. Children’s dreams of an abundant bounty of Halloween candy are moving closer to fruition, though far slower than what they desire.

Yet, if one looks at the thermometer or outdoor fashion, summer has seemingly returned to life, even in the face of ever-shortening days. Jack Frost has seemingly been banished to the Arctic. Unseasonable warmth prevails. The first day of October saw the temperature reach 80°F (26.7°C). The second day is forecast to be even warmer.

As warm breezes waft across the landscape, what the November 1853 edition of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine wrote to describe Indian Summer has more than a little relevance today. That periodical observed:

…a dreamy haze veils the landscape, a summer softness touches the air, and the clouds at sunset cluster in the west with a gorgeous affluence that paints upon the sky the splendors of the tropics. The distant hills dissolve in the golden mist; the crimson maple flames with a softer fire, the tarnished golden-rods and cold blue asters steal an unhoped-for charm…

Everywhere, to again borrow from that beautifully-written piece—a linguistic elegance that is an increasing rarity in the contemporary era of texting—there is the “luxury of reviving summer.”

Perhaps residents of New York and New Jersey can be forgiven for especially savoring what Harper’s termed “the parting, hurried kiss of Nature upon the dying year.” Late last October, Superstorm Sandy made a sudden, sharp turn to the west, delivering a devastating blow to the region. Some areas have yet to fully recover. Exactly a year before Sandy, a historic early-season snowstorm brought a tree-snapping, mid-winter-type accumulation just to the north of New York City into southern New England.

Even as one might be seduced into believing in eternal summer, summer is not a perpetual season. Summer’s “October dawn” is not the real thing.

There will come a time when summer’s warm breezes finally yield for good to an increasingly cold wind from the north. Days will become grayer. The brilliance of autumn’s vivid hues will fade from north to south. Down the road, the air will again become filled with countless, swirling snowflakes.

But that’s still in the future. For now, the New York City area is approaching a dazzling transition of just a few weeks’ duration, somewhere between the golden days of summer’s last stand and the short, cold days of winter.