We’ve reached that summer pinnacle known as the ‘dog days of summer.’ Growing up, I heard the term quite often and mentally pictured an old country farmhouse with dogs sprawled out under the porch, trying to find a patch of coolness. How on earth did we ever survive in Florida without air conditioning?
My high school years were spent without a/c as well. How did we ever manage to learn without some blessed cool air? The heat can be brain-depleting, and this summer is no different. This year’s weather pattern has been a mystery since our abnormally warm winter was followed by irregular months of rain and now heat. If we could bottle this steamy air, we could run many an engine with it.
The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the traditional period of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3rd and ending August 11th, coinciding with the ancient heliacal (sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. As told by WeatherBug, a dog does play a role in the ‘dog days,’ but it’s not any ordinary mutt. “Back in early civilizations, people looked at the stars and pictured animals in the brightest ones. The constellation Canis Major is the one depicting a dog. The brightest one in that constellation is Sirius, or the ‘Dog Star,’ says WeatherBug.
The Old Farmer's Almanac also says the dog days are the days of the year with the least rainfall in the Northern Hemisphere. Boy, did the almanac get that one wrong this year! All of my shoes are in some stage of dampness from having walked through wet grass or puddles…..there’s no avoiding them. The Ochlockonee is closing in on the underbellies of its bridges. Flash flood watches are issued routinely. After several years of drought-like conditions, the rain is welcomed by growers and farmers, and hopefully our aquifer will soon be replete. Getting a regular dose of inches of rain on a daily basis is beginning to get old, though, despite the cooler temperatures. Daily chores now include emptying the rain gauge and any upturned concave vessels containing water to help keep mosquitoes at bay. Appointments are made only after a double-check of the flood stages on the rivers. Dog days? I don’t know whether to quack or swim!