Thursday, July 3, 2008

The lazy hazy days of Sirius

July 3, 2008 - You know it's summer when all around you, people are complaining about the heat. The heat folks... it's the enemy. Unless it is Fall - when the winds and cold nights are the enemy. Or Winter - when it is the snow and ice and rains. Don't forget Spring - when the allergens and the rains become foes. What climate would actually suit us? Do we need to move somewhere moderately dry, a bit warm, with light warm breezes, that rains overnight - and even then only between the hours of 0300 and 0500 hrs (unless you need to be up early, in which case the rains need to end at 0400 hrs)? This perfect weather never gets cold, never gets too hot, and never postpones an event.

I don't know where this place might be, but I don't want to spend much time there. Each season brings about a completely different set of weather conditions. Last night it was hot and humid. The air was sticky and electric. Then as if on cue, it began to lightning and thunder and rain just enough to ease the tension in the air. The smell of rain falling on a hot summer night is intoxicating. (So is a pitcher of mojitos but that's another story).

Today is the start of the Dog Days of Summer. Traditionally, the Dog Days had more to do with astronomy than the weather. The Greeks and the ancient Romans referred to the 40 days (20 days before and 20 days after) the appearance of Sirius (the Dog Star) in the Northern Hemisphere as the dog days.

Sirius is the brightest star in the sky after our sun. There was a time in human antiquity, ancient Egyptians believed that the Dog Star was what caused the sultry hot weather of summer. To appease the rage of Sirius (and to stop him from causing the oceans to boil and the Nile to flood) they would sacrifice a brown dog on the day that Sirius appeared in the sky. It doesn't seem like it was good days for dogs. Seriously folks, we've come a long way.

So today, the start of the Dog Days of Summer, I shall not sacrifice my dog, but I will make a different sacrifice and take him to the beach. It might be rough, but I will give of myself for the sake of the Dog Days of Summer. Now if Sirius would like to make an appearance and warm up the waters of the Pacific, I wouldn't complain.

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