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.” This phrase was originated in ancient Roman times, used to describe the intense heat of summer. 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 sitting around and panting like a dog when it is an inferno outside. I must start looking upward, toward the sky, and try to locate this Dog Star, Sirius. If he is 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 must remember that this is a family paper.)
I hate to complain; after all, at least we aren’t living in Death Valley. A woman who just moved to Arizona emailed me to say that she is trying to “learn to appreciate the oppressive 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 “hoping” to go someplace else. We dream of cooler days. OK, so the pandemic has dashed many of our plans. But beaches are still beckoning. Family road trips await. Camping in the pines sounds pretty thrilling. And cool, rainy days might be arriving soon.
Arizona seems to be getting hotter. Triple digits in Phoenix are always routine, but 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. We are strong people in Arizona! We can endure a pandemic, stifling hot weather and still love this place. “Dog Days”? Bring them on! Who is 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? (Some folks do this naked—please don’t). The Navajo claim that when the clouds look like sheep in the sky, rain is coming. I am always on the lookout 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. Try to get wet! Look for sheep in the sky and think cool thoughts. Better days are coming.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at email@example.com.