Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Dog Days Of Summer

We are experiencing the Dog Days of summer. The Dog Days traditionally begin in early July and last until mid August, coinciding somewhat with the bright appearance of Sirius, the Dog star, in the northern hemisphere. But some allow that they stretch into early September.

I heard older folks speak of Dog Days when I was a child, and assumed they were so called because the weather was so sultry that dogs and we had a good excuse to avoid work and laze around on or under the porch. Not a bad idea, since Brady’s Clavis Calendarium (1813) describes it as a time “when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics and phrensies.” The ancient Romans sacrificed a brown dog to appease Sirius, the apparent cause of it all. So staying near the house was not only cooler, but safer. Still is.

Our parents would let us lay in the shade during the hottest part of the day. But eventually they’d say, “Get movin’. You’ve got things to do”, as I do now.

The grass needs mowing. The truck needs repair. Tomato hornworms are chewing the Romas. And I need to plan ahead.

Believe it or not, fall is coming. When it arrives, I don’t want to lament that I accomplished so little during Dog Days. On the other hand, maybe I’ll just sit here in the shade while it’s hot and plan for fall.

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