Here it is mid – August and the Dog Days of Summer are almost over. I know many of you have heard the term but do you really know where it came from? I know that some of you are looking at your four pawed companions panting away the summer heat beside you, whether on shared walks or just sitting together in the backyard. One look at how the heat is affecting them, and I am sure you think “ah, dog days indeed.” But to understand where the term Dog Days of Summer, you must look to the sky. The night sky that is and the Dog Star, Sirius, the brightest star above (no, we are not talking about the Sun right now).
The Egyptians called Sirius the dog star after their god Osirus, whose head in pictograms resembled that of a dog. In Egypt, and in ancient Rome, Sirius was in conjunction with the Sun in the summer (ie. it was up in the sky at the same time as the Sun) and ancient Egyptians and Romans argued that it was responsible for the summer heat by adding its heat to the heat from the Sun. Those in ancient times called the period of time from 20 days before to 20 days after the conjunction “the dog days of summer” because it coincidentally fell at the time of year when it was very hot.
The Dog Days of Summer start around July 7th ( I have also seen July 3rd at the start date as well) and runs until August 18th, normally the time in the Northern Hemisphere when it is the hottest. It is the time we head for the beach, the air-conditioning, anywhere but the office. It is also a great time to catch up on your reading and make headway on your “to be read” pile. Here are some books and one great series (Wicked’s Way by Haven Fellows) that you will want to add to the list.
Monday, Augusts 12, 2013: Nischal by Bailey Bradford
Tuesday, August 13, 2013: Wicked Incarceration by Haven Fellows
Wed., August 14, 2013: Wicked Guidance by Haven Fellows
Thursday, August 15, 2013 Guest Blog by Haven Fellows
Friday, August 16, 2013 Fall For Me by Ann Lister
Saturday, August 17, 2013: Home Sweet Home by TA Chase
I will leave you all with two quotes about the dog days of summer. Both perfection in tone and ability to paint a portrait of this time of year.
“Sophia and Grandmother sat down by the shore to discuss the matter further. It was a pretty day, and the sea was running a long, windless swell. It was on days just like this–dog days–that boats went sailing off all by themselves. Large, alien objects made their way in from sea, certain things sank and others rose, milk soured, and dragonflies danced in desperation. Lizards were not afraid. When the moon came up, red spiders mated on uninhabited skerries, where the rock became an unbroken carpet of tiny, ecstatic spiders.”
― Tove Jansson, The Summer Book
“The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.”
― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting