We’re officially in the dog days of summer. I wasn’t really sure of the origin of this phrase so I turned to the every-trusty Wikipedia for some enlightenment.
It started with The Romans who referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky.
The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as the sun. (apparently this is no longer the case, but whatever) The Romans sacrificed a red dog in April to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.
Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time when “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.” according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813. The Dog Days ran from approximately July 24th through August 24th.
And there you have the sum total of my newly acquired knowledge about The Dog Days of Summer.
The late summer air feels different – heavier somehow. Like change is floating in on the breeze. Mid-August days are always hot and humid (some places more than others, thank you Portland) and I feel unusually slow and lazy. If I had a hammock, I would lie in it and sip a nice cool glass of my favorite drink Tazo lemon ginger over ice and read. And doze. And read…
What I’ve been doing instead is playing with my camera – taking photos of dogs. So I put together a little photo essay I like to call The Dog Days of Summer. Because, you know, every dog has his day.
Enjoy these last few weeks of summer. And be sure to drink up the wine before it turns sour. I’ll do my part on that for sure.