Sunday, August 12, 2007


House Wren in early July singing his/her heart out...

It's nearly mid-August and it's easy to tell - the sounds have changed from a few short weeks ago. The mornings are more quiet - the bird songs have dropped off dramatically. No more romancing songs, now mostly chirps and cheeps with occasional warning calls to punctuate the atmosphere.

And a month ago, the crickets and cicadas were still mostly silent. Now the sounds of crickets singing are a constant, both day and night. And the hazy, hot, humid summer days are often punctuated with the long, loud, drawn out calls of the cicadas. Our cats have always enjoyed playing with them - they are so big and somewhat ugly and ungainly. Their noise seems to suit them perfectly, now that I think about it!

Growing up, we called these hot August days the "dog days of summer." I never quite understood why - do dogs like hot, humid weather any more than humans? I doubt it - after all, they're covered with hair, unless their people decided they should be shaved to better endure the heat. It seems to me that a shaved dog would be quite prone to sunburn, not to mention feeling naked and/or terribly undignified...

When our daughter was a bio major in undergrad school, she had a project on duck weed. That's the green scum that covers bodies of water that have little by way of inlets or outlets for continuous water flow. August seems to be their most fertile month, and in my memory at least, I have the green swampy waters and dog days of summer intertwined.

Such are my rambling thoughts on this August afternoon. Even though it's still summer on the calendar and summer heat surrounds us, changes are taking place reminding us that fall isn't far behind... Enjoy what is.

1 comment:

Pat's Place said...

Re: dogs days of summer

I received the following from fellow artist and friend, Geraldine Velasquez, PhD:

"The Dog Days of August were so named back in Roman Times when the "Dog Star" shown in the August sky and obviously the weather was hot, thus coupling the two for millennia."

So now we know where that expression originated! Thanks, Geraldine!