The Dog Days of Summer...a phenomenon described here as "conjuring up the hottest, most sultry days of summer". This is where we are on the calendar page and in life around these parts--the heat sinking teeth into our lungs with each humid breath, grass bleached out to paper, cicadas thrumming in their desperate longing for mates after years spent deep underground--waiting for the sunlight. This phenomenon gets its name from Sirius, the Dog Star, brightest star besides the sun--which shows itself only for the forty or so days when the temperatures here rise and will not be ignored. Once "popularly believed to be an evil time when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies" (from Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813)...it is, for us, simply when hordes of fireflies gather in the trees--when water becomes a second skin to cool us down--when summer begins to flare its brightest because it is an flimsy, diaphanous thing too quick to depart and we finally bother to notice this.
My summer has been stacked with work...student papers to grade and to-do lists to manage and run my fingers over again and again, as if that act of touching the neatly listed items could actually make them all completed in just one day. My summer semester ends this upcoming week, so I will only truly sink into the heart of vacation then. As busy as we've been, I have some serious cloud-watching, trail hiking, and pool sessions to catch up on with my wildies. There is also much to catch up on in my writing and in my visits to all of you...I hope the summer has been treating you kindly wherever you find yourself.
Now, in shorthand review of some fragments of my month:
I visited NYC and this lovely blogger early in the month to catch a performance by Eve Ensler and to amble through the city with a girl who knew her way around. She was warm and welcoming--and laughed gently when I showed her the photo I shot from the car on the way up on what constitutes a traffic jam where I live. Motorists wait (almost) patiently (almost all of the time) as the geese cross from one marsh pond to another several times each day. I will admit to slight panic in the spring when they had furry stumbling goslings in tow--I turned the corner so slowly then, just in case.
K. and I followed the graffiti from street to street--though I found myself so busy looking around that I basically forgot I had a camera in my hand and only shot a few images the whole day I was there. I stared, open-mouthed at everything, like it was my first time in NYC, which it wasn't. Back in college, a friend and I traveled there often to visit with other artsy-renegade wannabes and generation-late flower children with bells in their hair and tip jars ready at their feet while they strummed their guitars and tried to fund their next blurry touring road trip. They were always friends of hers, not mine, and I know I stared open-mouthed then as well, wondering my way into a whole different sort of existence never meant to be mine.
Speaking of other sorts of existence, of course, as the mother of a ten-year-old girl, there has been more than a usual amount of Harry Potter Fever in our house. She read and re-read the six previous books for weeks and months until the big day came. Yes, I was there when the boxes of books were opened at 12am and a cheer rose up through the bookstore like we were at a concert and the band just took the stage. Petunia was over the moon and actually wound up being interviewed and photographed for the newspaper about her theories on THE END and what she got out of the experience of reading the books seventeen times (as she has). Her (first) fifteen minutes of fame...the photo is Petunia as Hermione Granger--complete with crimped hair and a Gryffindor scarf she hand-knitted herself in preparation for the big night.
We've also spent plenty of time chasing butterflies and noticing rain in spiderwebs...the big important things in life...
There have been new guitars and visiting Brew Fests where we have our own local style of graffiti as well...the sidewalk chalk artists who spend hours crafting pieces that will vanish in the first moments of our next big summer storm.
Oh, and birthdays--many, many, many birthdays...most notably for me, my baby turning four.
August comes now and the Dog Days of Summer hit their full peak. I intend to indulge in some of the "languishing" from the definition above--this, a phenomenon I am ready to carefully observe and study sprawled on a quilt in the yard, glass of green tea slick with condensation on my left, books on my right. Perhaps a notebook will get to be dusted off and join me--black ink clouds raining an unexpected thunderstorm against my pages...trying to capture the last ephemeral remnants of the season while I still can.
***edited to add: in all of the lazy summer idleness I'm promoting, for right now, my comments are still on vacation. Please feel free to just read along or go ahead and shoot me an email if you need to get in touch.***