Enjoying the ‘dog days’ of summer

It was the perfect late August weekend at the cottage.
The mosquitoes have been gone for several weeks. And although the sun was out, it wasn’t the scorching heat of July days.
For many cottage families, last weekend marked the final one that their college-bound children would spend at the lake before heading off to schools over the Labour Day weekend.
It was true of our cottage, as well. Three cousins will be leaving this weekend for school—one bound for Windsor, another to Ottawa, and the third to Halifax.
All seemed to regret that the summer was drawing to a close, and the enjoyment of late-evening conversations in the hot tub and around the campfire were coming to an end.
Nearing the completion of their degrees, they all wondered when their next trip to the cottage would take place.
They had spent the weekend reading, lying about, and free of ambition. The three all were saving up energy for the year ahead.
The end of university again marks a change in outlook for these young people just as the going off to university or college marked a significant change only a few years earlier.
Already, they are discussing the job opportunities and where they likely will be next summer.
They call this time of year the dog days of summer, and I always had looked at it as that lazy time before the rush of September came about.
My understanding of the term was that it reflected on dogs lying around and basking in the summer heat. Typically, the “dog days” are known as the hottest and most humid times of the year.
The lying around also beckoned adults to hammocks and Muskoka chairs at cottages, to snooze, read a pulpy novel, over eat, and not do much of anything.
The biggest chore during the “dog days” was to walk down to the lake and jump in to cool off. Then to retreat back to the comfortable chair to read.
The weather makes it too warm to cut wood for the fall or winter. Cutting and splitting will wait for September’s cooler days.
I looked up the term “dog days of summer” and discovered it did mark that period from July to early September, and explained a period of inactivity. The history actually refers to the brightest of stars—Sirius (a.k.a. The Dog Star)—being seen in the Northern Hemisphere.
The ancient Romans believed the Earth received heat from it. And the official “dog days” usually run during that period of time from the first week of July through the second week of August.

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