I grew up with the phrase, "The Dog Days of Summer," in the context of baseball. It always seemed that when either the Mets or Yankees hit the skids in late summer, it was blamed on those damn dog days catching up with New York’s teams. But it turns out the phrase emanates from Greek and Roman times and refers instead to Orion’s dog, Sirius and the star that Sirius is named after, rising high in the sky signaling that the hottest time of the year is about to descend upon us.
Well it’s August and it’s pretty hot, and I don’t know about a dog star named Sirius rising, but I do know it’s humid as all get out. I do know that Sirius Radio has a dog as its symbol, but I am drifting off track on that one. And I do know the dog days are beginning for the Yankees as they get their heads handed to them by the Red Sox. And I do know the Mets dog days of August began in late May this year!! And it does seem that when those really humid, hot days roll in, that dogs just don’t want to do anything but curl up in the shade and wait it out. Actually not a bad strategy for most.
I love the clouds of August though; big, puffy and cotton-candy like, they float across the sky from the bay to the beach like tomorrow doesn’t matter. Late summer brings an occasional breeze that hints at relief, followed by huge thunderstorms and buckets of rain, spliced by bolts of heat lightening. The ocean’s water this time of year warms up ever so nicely, with powerful waves to remind us who still is in charge. Soon we will see sandpipers competing with those humorous laughing seagulls and the occasional oyster-catcher skimming by at the shore.
Teachers and students alike fear this time of year the most, because they know that right around the corner is the dreaded word that shall not be named. My mermaid still dreams about getting ready to go back to college around this time of year. One year I am actually going to drive her there and tell her I re-enrolled her, as she really liked school (damn, I said the word!).
For those recently retired, it’s a hard transition realizing that summer doesn’t end in August, it’s actually a prelude to the best time of year. Which I think is a pretty good metaphor for life. If you can get to the point where you have built a life and get to retire, it opens up the world, so that you can now do whatever you want. Of course, the problem is always the same – what is it we really want. I always liked the answer in the movie, Miss Congeniality: “World peace!”
And so, as these lazy days meander by, I wish you all peace and happiness, family and love, and big fluffy clouds. Now that I think of it, it’s a lot like this piece of writing, a bit fluffy!