Did it rain enough? Probably not. Is it hot enough? Hmm, lately it feels as though we are in the midst of the “dog days of summer.” Some ancient Roman started describing the heat of summer in this manner, and the term has been widely used ever since. The ancient astronomers noted that Sirius, the Dog Star, rose and set with the sun during July and August. It was then concluded that the Dog Star and the sun’s heat combined, caused the hottest weeks of the year. Hence, we are in those “dog days.”
Doggone it, I thought the phrase had something to do with feeling like lying around, panting like a dog when it’s like an inferno outside. I must start looking upward, toward the sky and try and locate this Dog Star, Sirius. If he’s the culprit for these heat waves, dust devils, lightning and wind, then I’d like to have a few choice words with this “dog.” (Oops, I keep forgetting that this is a family paper).
I hate to complain, after all, at least we aren’t living in Death Valley. A woman emailed me to say that she is trying to “learn to appreciate the heat.” She is keeping a watchful eye for all things “special” about blazing, hot days and has encouraged all of her friends and neighbors to do the same. Hmm, I did see a massive yellow wall of dust moving my way last week, as I was driving in Phoenix. Surely, a haboob has to qualify as “special.”
What’s so special about the “dog days” of summer? Actually it’s a time of great hope. Everyone I talk to is looking forward to something different or being someplace else. Beaches are beckoning. Family reunions await. The last vacations before kids go back to school or college are happening right now.
All of Arizona seems to be getting hotter. Triple digits in Phoenix is routine and Prescott has seen 100 degrees! Ouch! It’s as though we get through a hot spell in some sort of collective trance, just waiting for a break in the weather or a change of scenery. After we have endured July, we still love this place and realize that no little heat wave is going to change that. “Dog Days?” Bring them on — we’re not afraid of a little heat.
Summer brings sunsets always worth watching. Lightning may be dangerous, but it sure is beautiful. And what could be more fun then standing outside in a rainstorm, when it finally hits? The Navajo claim that when the clouds look like sheep in the sky, rain is coming. I am always on the look-out for sheep. As the Hopi say, “Monsoons bring magic.”
Dear Readers, enjoy the magic! And just getting through the monsoons is a pretty “special” experience. Stay wet! Be wild. Look for sheep in the sky and think cool thoughts in the meantime.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org.