The Dog Days of Summer

We went camping last week with a heat index of 112 degrees. When I say camping, I am talking about primitive camping; no glitz, no AC, no running water. It was planned to get away from the endless negative chatter the media has been bestowing upon us for the past 6 months. As I was melting in the shade I thought, so here we are in, “the dog days of summer.” Did you ever wonder what that means? I imagine dogs melting in the hot sun, just like Watson pictured here:

As it turns out the saying refers to the dog star known as Sirius’s position in the sky. Way back when people were making life decisions based on the constellations, the Greeks and Romans saw an extraordinarily bright star in the summer sky when the sun was rising. This star called Sirius is part of the constellation Canis Major and it was the brightest star in the sky seen with the naked eye. The star was so bright that the Romans thought it sent more heat to the already seemingly scorching earth during July and early August. Sadly, all those years ago the “dog days of summer,” were not filled with swimming in lakes, eating watermelon, and catching lightening bugs. They were filled with fear and foreboding about impending droughts, wars and bad luck.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac tells us that the dog days of summer run from July 3- August 11 in the northern hemisphere. In 2020, we are struggling with our own unique fears during these dog days of summer. The goal is to find ways to destress and try to recapture those “lazy, hazy, crazy, days of summer.”

For some it is peace ice cream on sunburned lips.

For others it is spending time inside with the family watching movies with air conditioning. For me, it’s camping, spending time with family (6 feet apart of course), and relaxing before the start of the new school year begins.

Here are some ideas to take the heat out of the dog days of summer:

  • Look for stars and constellations, can you see Sirius?
  • Look for spiders’ eyes at night with a flashlight
  • Have a scavenger hunt
  • Go hammocking
  • Learn some fun cooldown recipes (go to for recipes)
  • Do jigsaw puzzles
  • Read books as a family (you can even do this with family and friends you cannot see right now)
  • Remember Zoom is free, so visit family and friends often
  • Write letters with writing paper, envelopes and stamps… put on a wax seal and some scent and mail it off
  • Get crazy with arts and crafts (go to for more ideas about art and hobbies)
  • Take lots of pictures, make frames for them

Cherish and enjoy each moment, these are memories.

“With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.”
Max Ehrmann, excerpt from Desiderata,

Rest easy my friends, this too shall pass… 

Reference for Old Farmer’s Almanac:

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