Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere have arrived at serious summertime now that the Dog Days are in progress. This is the eagerly anticipated or the dreaded time of year that sunshine and heat rule the land.
Perhaps it’s Karma at work that it takes longer for me to warm up to the presence of Summer than during my youth. As a young boy, I lived for summertime. The longer I ponder this thought, the more it seems like the aging process is to blame. That and two serious bouts of heat stroke.
There’s nothing we can do, short of air travel, to avoid the changing of the seasons. So, I believe that the best policy is to accept each season on its own merits and demerits as they happen, when they happen. That said, I am eternally grateful for Willis Carrier’s greatest invention–AC.
There are three old songs that play on my mental jukebox when the weather is hot and muggy: “Summertime” by George Gershwin, “Summer In The City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful, and “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer” by Nat King Cole. This inner music happens regardless of whether or not I hear them on the radio or other media.
As a matter of fact, the chorus of the Nat King Cole tune is looping in my brain, right now.
“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You’ll wish that summer could always be here”
(© Sony/ATV Music)
From today until August eleventh is that part of our Summer that is also known as the Dog Days. This is when the “Dog Star” Sirius rises at the same time as the Sun. Of course, modern culture has appropriated the name for other purposes. We now have Dog Day Sales. It’s also a good excuse for dog memes on the Internet.
The Dog Days are when it seems it is most urgent to work, yet we are compelled to relax outdoors. It’s not exactly laziness. The urge is more akin to restfulness. You can find a shady place and listen to the multitude of sounds of summertime, or stare at the bright blue, fully clear sky. Sometimes there are clouds to study and ponder the shapes your mind invents for them.
Summer can be big drama queen. Some afternoons we can watch the development of a violent, destructive cumulonimbus storm cloud system. To those of us who live in the “Tornado Belt”, such a sight is awe-inspiring yet fearful at the same time. At their worst, cumulonimbi can develop further to become parts of a supercell.
Soon we hear the wail of warning sirens. We know from drills, what to do. Go to the basement or other solid structure. Make sure to have a flashlight and radio with you. I have a small yellow plastic radio that can tune into the government’s weather band and features a built-in flashlight.
The most annoying part of Summer is trying to become comfortable enough to fall asleep and stay asleep. One has to cope with excess heat and humidity. This still happens when blessed with air conditioning. Then once you do drop into slumber, a sudden, close lightning strike crashes. Then you begin the process of falling asleep all over again.
For better or worse, I wish you Happy Dog Days of Summer.