If August is the “Sunday of Summer” …..
then what is the last Sunday of August?
I’m not exactly sure.
But I’m certain it is something to be savored.
It’s hot. The dog days of summer are here.
Why they call them the “dog days of summer” I do not know.
Actually that’s not true. I just looked it up on the interspace web and now I am a well versed expert on the subject.
Ok. That’s not true either. But I did look it up and read a whole bunch about it. So now I have an answer. And it has to do with science and not folklore involving large dogs, big fans, porch swings, and sweet tea.
I must pause to admit that I am no scientist. I like to star gaze with the best of them, and although I did particularly well in my college astronomy class, it was due
entirely in part to the tutoring I got from a boy. He used a reading lamp, an orange, and an apple to explain the basics of the earth’s rotation and orbit. The fact that my husband used fruit and a library lamp to help me with a basic concept most fourth graders master should have made him run. Far and fast. I’m glad he didn’t.
Anywho, I digress. It turns out these hot days of late July and August are called “dog days” because of a star. Not just any star, but a very large star called Sirius “the dog-star” in the constellation Canis Major. Sirius is so big that is visible in the sky during most of the year. However, during the weeks of late summer, Sirius nearly aligns with the sun and disappears in the sun’s light. This lead ancients to believe that during these weeks, Sirius made the sun larger, added to its heat, and made our days hotter. Thus the term “the dog days of summer.”
All fancy astronomy aside, I still somewhat believe we call them the “dog days” because our furry friends are the only one who seem to be with ok with August weather forecasts from professional meteorologists that include words like “hot, humid, muggy, and miserable.”
Jack is our resident expert in “dog days,” and he doesn’t seem to mind any of those meteorological adjectives. The warmth (code for downright hot and yucky) makes for good napping. And good ball catching. And just about anything else that strikes his fancy, including posing for silly pictures after being dressed-up by eight-year-old girls.
Jack and his fellow canines may revel in these days of their namesake star. Good for them. They obviously enjoy the dog days of summer a wee bit more than me. After the cold winter we had I promised not to complain about the heat. But this week is testing my tolerance.
Truthfully the summer hasn’t been that bad. But still. Sheesh. I’m kind of over it.
Luckily this was in my path this morning.
And thankfully, these dog days are numbered.
When I was a kid I used to make pretty good trades.
I once got a brand new Barbie with silky brunette locks because a friend liked the matted blonde mess on my doll better. And nearly every Saturday morning I got to watch Wonder Woman because I conceded the marshmallows in the Lucky Charms box to my brother.
Yesterday I made a trade that not so easy.
Emily went off to her first day of high school yesterday. We inched through the morning carpool line, a slow crawl to “Freshmen Welcome Day,” and a precious last few moments together before the next chapter of her life began. I knew what was coming, and each rotation of my tires brought the trade closer. There was a steady stream of cars, each had nervous freshmen and anxious emotional parents, all of us waiting for the inevitable exchange. By the time we rounded towards the entrance, the energy was palpable. The band played, faculty and staff along with upperclassmen (over 400 of whom gave up their last day of summer vacation to volunteer!) clapped and cheered to welcome my daughter and her classmates to the school community.
In slow motion the trade took place. We pulled up to the front of the line, to the embrace of the throngs of cheering, smiling students. I was greeted at my window by a lovely staff member who handed me a muffin and wished me a good day. An upperclassman moved in, handed me a magnet for my car and welcomed me to Gibbons. And while I was being distracted by baked goods and pleasantries from polite teenagers, Emily was whisked out of my car by students waiting to greet and welcome her.
And just like that, before I had time for one last goodbye, she was gone. They took her by the hand and helped her on her way.
The trade was made.
They took her. And I got a muffin. And a magnet.
They should have given tissues too. My eyes welled once I lost sight of her in the crowd and the mom in my rearview mirror bawled, wiping a steady stream of tears from her cheeks.
Some trades are easy, some are more complicated, and some are just plain hard. This one was all the above for me. It tugged at my heart-strings and made my heart explode with excitement for her and all that lies ahead these next four years.
Another milestone. Another reminder to savor the years, the days, the moments.
And yes, cause to savor the trades too – the easy and the difficult. There is always good to be found in the exchanges that come our way and the trades that pepper our paths; some are magically delicious and some should come with Kleenex.
And some leave me to marvel at the joy that comes with a muffin, a magnet, and a smiling teenage daughter.