We have been laboring under slate-grey skies now for what must be ten days, surely over a week. August has stopped dead in its tracks. The rain may come in brief spasms, but the general atmosphere is still and unhealthy, and generally the ground is dry. Neither fish nor fowl. Neither baking heat nor air clearing storm. There is an industrial smell about tonight, as if we are living next to a badly functioning incinerator at the edge of a northern town. Down at Lake Michigan the seaweed clogs the shore and the waves break lethargically under a viscous skim. A oppressive marmoreal torpor bears down on it all.