Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Dog Days of Summer
It's not a typical Dog-day summer here. August is usually the time of browned grass and 100-plus-degree afternoon heat. The metal buildings remind me of solar coolers we used to make in science class. Any short-pants-wearing human passing dried-up stalks and sunflowers will receive a rigorous shin pelting from grasshoppers.
A cool breeze and being pelted by little except rain--now that's real change.
The term, "Dog days," or Caniculares dies for all you Latin speakers, can also describe a time period or event proven to be dull, mind numbing, and listless. I've not felt like writing. This use is more illustrative of my summer than the former, which is how Romans viewed the evil days of summer "when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies" according to Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813.
I'd rather suffer from a lack of words that be forced by Roman policy wonks to sacrifice a choice brown dog to appease Sirius, the Dog Star, and ward off global warming.
Every winter the Dog Star shines from its home in Canis Major, one of Orion's two best friends. It seems odd that it has anything to do with summer, a languid time for star gazers like me who wait up for the Perseid meteor shower. The clouds moved in to frame Venus just after dark while I checked on the horses. After midnight when the shower was supposed to be at its peak, the multiplied clouds, both languid and boiling, had covered Perseus with a shroud.