Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Dog Days

Ah, we're deep into "The Dog Days of Summer."*
Ever wonder about that phrase? It is attributed to Roman astronomers who believed that the Dog Star, Sirius (yes, that's where J.K. Rowling got the name for Sirius Black), added to the sun's heat to make these summer days more uncomfortable. During those ancient days, Sirius rose and set with the sun. Now the passage of time and movement of the universe has shifted our view of the constellations, so Sirius rises and sets on a little different time schedule, but we still call the latter half of July and first part of August "The Dog Days." In the Northern Hemisphere these tend to be the most uncomfortable weeks of the season with high heat and higher humidity. Everyone is cranky and whiny. Tempers flare from the tiniest sparks. Thunderstorms boom and put on fantastic lightning displays.

Growing up, we had a big old mutt that was terrified of loud noises. Originally meant to be a hunting companion that ran home at the first gunshot, this great big animal would tremble and hide under tables when thunder rumbled in the distance. His name was Skeeter and he was generally considered an ugly canine. Half collie and half German short-haired pointer, he had a huge head and a tiny bob of a tail. He was fearless when strangers came to the door or when wild critters visited in the night. But summer storms sent him into a panic, poor thing.

Me, I love thunderstorms. I love watching the lightning, seeing what patterns the ripple through those heavy black skies. I'm still waiting for a nice thunderstorm at my house this summer. They've skipped over, downing power lines and flooding washes everywhere else in Tucson but here. One could say the storms have been "dogging it" around my place during these dog days, but that would be a different bone to pick. Woof.

*( Previously posted on my blog, Words That Remain )


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I'm inviting you to Central Florida. We have amazing lightning and no mountains (even hills) in the way although the clouds sometimes look like distant peaks.

FL is the lightning capital of the world. Thousands of strikes daily. Golfers are especially vulnerable. So I have to warn be careful what you wish for.

Jude Johnson said...

We have spectacular lightning shows here, too. But I'll be very happy when we get back to 9% humidity in September.

linda_rettstatt said...

I sure hope it cools off out ther by October 5. That's when I head to Tucson.

Jude Johnson said...

LOL Linda, most of the time it's still triple digits until Halloween. Hope to see you when you're here!

Big Mike said...

Use to take my kids out in the station wagon and tell them scary stories in storms. They loved it. Now I do it with my grand daughter. She loves it too. The circle is complete.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Jude Johnson said...

Ha ha Mike, you're a fun Granddad!

Liz Fountain said...

About this time a year ago, a huge lightning storm over our valley (they counted close to 1000 strikes) started one of the biggest wildfires in memory. A few smaller fires converged into the Table Mountain fire that eventually sent a plume of smoke 40,000 feet in the air; NASA got an amazing satellite photo.

I still love thunder and lightning. We had another good storm one Friday night about two weeks ago. No significant damage this time around, and it was such a joy to watch it rolling on until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.

Oh, and the black Lab we had when I was a little girl was just the same - brave and loyal and absolutely terrified of thunder. Poor boy!


Jude Johnson said...

Thanks, Liz!