7.28.2008

Dog Days of Summer


dog days of summer
plural noun:
1. the hot, sultry period of summer between early July and early September
2. a period of stagnation
3. the time when you get up early to enjoy the cool breeze or go camp under a grove of trees
4. the time when wading in the creek can feel good in the heat of the dayI am not a big fan of the dog days of summer. I was talking to the librarian today when I dropped books off and she stated, " I hate this time of year... it is so hot and everything is brittle and dry. Fire danger is high, water is scarce.... just give me winter any time!" Perhaps winter wouldn't be my first choice of season, but definitely fall or spring. The dog days of summer keep everyone where I live on edge. When the woods and fields are dry and water sometimes gets scarce it is a time when neighbors watch out for neighbors knowing a cigarette tossed carelessly out a car window could cause a blaze. Lightening storms can create beauty as they light up the sky, but can also spell danger. Knowing we need summer heat for our vegetables and annual flowers to bloom, I also know these plants need that critical cooling off period during the night to gear up for another hot day. Dog day summer nights don't provide that break so plants get stressed and their growth can stagnate. With a sultry feel to the air the dog days of summer urge animals to go undercover. We find our cats in the oddest places during the day. We always try to check before we set a sprinkler so one doesn't get soaked when water is turned on. The dogs can't go for car rides as often and both tend to sleep much more as the temperatures during the day rise.
When I was younger I worshiped the sun. We would lay out and get tans, stay in the water on air mattresses for hours on end and never think twice about any dangers the sun or heat might bring. Now I move through the dog days of summer with more ease by finding that campsite enclosed in the trees, wading in the creek down the trail from out site, reading and writing inside during the hot afternoon, enjoying the animals and sitting outside during the last hours of daylight, or work at getting up earlier to work outside when the air is cooler.

Sometimes I just give in to the dog days of summer and grab a cool drink, a book, and sit in front of the air conditioner. How do you survive the dog days of summer?

7 comments :

  1. Hello again. I'm not sure if you will have seen my comment on the post below this one. For some reason, I thought this belonged to the next. Blame it on the dog days of summer? Rigt now in the office, it's not as cool as the rest of the house. But there is a park nearby off the bay where there is always a cool breeze to be able to have a picnic or stroll. But I do prefer the fall, although am trying to live "in the moment" and milk each moment. We'll turn around and be 90! So, I'll even savor the dog days of summer. Thought provoking piece. Am well aware of the dangers of the dryness on the west coast!
    Petra p.s. Hope you find my comment on the post below this one, I think. Phew!

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  2. I can't believe I used to play so much baseball in the dog days of summer.

    Even more, I can't believe I worked, and survived, those 3-11 shifts in the cell room during the dog days of summer.

    Did we really used to drive from Kellogg to Orofino during the dog days of summer w/out air conditioning and with Mom and Dad both smoking? I can't believe it.

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  3. I remember long drives in the car... Mom taking us to a yard sale or up to Lucky Peak for a swim. My hair would be in knots by the time we got where we were going from the air whipping through the open windows.

    I didn't mind the heat back then. These days I'm inside with my AC on... curled up with a good book, watching an old movie, or blogging...

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  4. Yes RP...we did all those things during the dog days of summer and alive to tell it.
    nita jo: you know how to survive those dog days. lol

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  5. The picnic table shot is really good.

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  6. When I think of farmers and high school kids out haying or harvesting, I believe I must be spoiled. These days make me seek at least the semblance of shade, and although I dream about spending my summers wrapped up in books and writing, I'm usually working on a class or a workshop or a retreat or something academic.

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  7. thanks jbelle... that was during my camera playing camping trip!
    I agree alex... I can't imagine haying. The guys next door were putting on a roof when it was ninety degrees... no fun!

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