It's hot! Temperatures are rising all over the country, including here on the Pacific Coast. Our Mid-State Fair begins today, and historically, that's when our temps begin to reach 100 plus degrees.
The Dog Days of Summer...have you ever wondered where this name came from, and what exactly it means? I have, so I did some research and this is what I found:
In Webster's Dictionary, "dog days" are define as the period between early July and early September when the hottest and most sultry temperatures of summer occur in the Northern Hemisphere. But what does the term really mean and where does it come from?
Long ago, in the ancient times where the beauty of the night skies was not obliterated by artificial lights and smog, the stars were at their brightest. Ancient peoples in different lands drew pictures in the sky by connecting the stars with dots, which is how our present day constellations were born. These pictures, however, were dependent upon the cultures, as each society saw the stars and the images they created differently. The Native Americans saw one picture, the Chinese saw another, the Europeans still another, and so on.
The images they created were of bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, ( Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), and of course, many others including DOGs ( Canis Major and Canis Minor.)
The brightest of all these stars in the night sky is Sirius, also the brightest in the constellation of Canis Major. Sirius is called The Dog Star. It is so bright that the Ancient Romans thought the earth derived its heat from this star, but of course we've learned through time that this isn't the case.
Anyway, how did the Dog Star come to be associated with the term "Dog days of summer?" Well, in July this star rises and sets with the sun, and the ancients believed that because it was so bright, during this period of time it added its own heat to the sun, resulting in the hottest and most sultry period of time on earth. So they called this period time, from 20 days before this conjunction to 20 days after, the "Dog Days of Summer." This usually means the Dog Days of Summer range from July 3rd to August 11th.
So this is your astronomical/historical "lesson" in what the Dog Days of summer are, and how they got their name ! But more importantly...how do these days affect you? Are you more tired during this period of time? Cranky and crotchety? How does your writing go during this time, do you write more, less? Do you think your creativity sort of "shrinks" up in the heat?
I hate summer! For me, it's a period of sheer isolation. I don't handle the heat at all, so when it's so hot and humid, I hibernate in the house with the a/c on. Unfortunately, I'm also claustophobic, so being in the house with all the doors and windows closed will drive me up a wall after a while. Consequently, my creativity takes a holiday, but it doesn't take me with it !
How do you handle the Dog Days of Summer?
Until next time,
That's a wrap.