We are entering what is often referred to as the “Dog Days” of the summer. The image this brings to mind for me comes from years of living with my mother as she raised her rescue dogs, and then became intrigued with breeding brown poodles (an genetically unstable color which came about through selective breeding). Her dogs, while not larges, turned into throw rugs all over the house when the sun hit its zenith, and the humidity was high. They preferred the kitchen and bathroom floors for coolness, and their position was emphasizing as much contact with the ceramic tiles as possible. Often they would scatter themselves around the water dish, as if it was entirely too much trouble to walk more than a step or two to quench their thirst. As a kid, I thought nothing of falling to the floor next to them and enjoying the comfort available in our old, unconditioned house.
But of course, the term comes from the Greek and Roman days and indicated the rising of Sirius, the “Dog Star” in the skies which these ancient cultures associated with heat, drought, severe storms, and bad luck in general. But for the Egyptians, the rising of Sirius which they named Sopdet, for their goddess who guaranteed their land’s fertility through the annual flooding of the Nile River. So it is perspective, and cultural experiences that color these kind of regular cycles.
For most of us August and late summer in general is vacation time. Most of Europe literally leaves en masse. Even in the overly work-oriented culture here in the states, it is acceptable to takes time off, leave the work place, and get out into nature. And that is what I find myself doing more of, whether it is heading out for the backyard with my breakfast and journal, or playing with the dogs when I arrive home after work, or lingering at dinner, or a coffee and dessert on the patio of a local restaurant. I pretend to be a better (and more committed) gardener than I am, finally planting the sad little marigold plants I bought weeks ago, and I throw my windows open (yup, still no air conditioning) to every possible breeze, even joining my own dogs on the floor in front of the fans.
It is time to chase our interests that we seem to have no time for during the rest of the year, to be dreamy, and read widely, letting the expansiveness of the season lead us into new ideas, connections, and interests. Some of us read light entertainment, taking a break from more serious pursuits, but some of us find this is a perfect time to take large gulps of subjects and worlds we have always been tickled by, but not previously explored. The rules are melting, and we make choices without having to justify ourselves to anyone.
So, quick, follow a passion, detour into territory you haven’t ever tried before, adventure in any way you can, physically, emotionally, intellectually. But don’t take yourself too seriously, do it for the pleasure, do it for fun, do it because you can, and right now, no one is looking, or cares. School’s out, and we are all on holiday, at least for a little while longer.