If summer needs an animal ambassador, might I suggest the humble hermit crab? Autumn has its migrating geese fleeing winter’s creep, the spring its chicks and lambs and bunnies and other quasi-religious symbols of annual renewal. Summer is a different beast. Nothing is being ushered in, nothing escorted out. It just is, which feels about a hermit crab’s speed, doesn’t it?

This might be a lot of weight to put on the crustacean’s fragile exoskeleton, but summer and the hermit crab have much in common. Both are prickly and finicky. Like the season’s heavy heat, a crab can seem to just sit there, doing nothing; but turn your back on either, and they disappear.

Beginning this week, millions of Americans will make day-long and weekend-long and week-long and season-long treks to the continent’s shores. Some will come… More…