Monday, August 4, 2008

Dog Days

The phrase Dog Days or "the dog days of summer", refers to the hottest, most sultry days of summer. They are a phenomenon of the northern hemisphere that usually falls between early July and early September but the actual dates vary greatly from region to region, depending on latitude and climate.

Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress.


Hot, yes. Dull lack of progress, yes. Stagnation definitely. I remind myself that the word germination might be more helpful, but the sense of drumming the fingers in frustration, of marking time has felt almost palpable.

Sunday was different.

Twenty or so people. a leisurely lunch followed by a game of rounders on the lawn of an old farmhouse facing south towards the Monmouthshire hills. The weather: warm and overcast, promising both sun and rain at different times but never quite delivering either. Aside from a few partners, children and dogs (including the subject of the photo) everyone knew each other.

We ate hot dogs (oh yes) and salad and cheesecake and strawberries. We drank juice, ginger beer, coffee. We chatted and cheered and ran and hit and missed the rounders ball. I can't remember the last time I felt so at ease in a group this size.

It occured to me during the drive home: Don't put labels or expectations or judgements on a single moment of this fragile, unpredictable life.

Dog Days can be good.

More info on Dog Days and the Dog Star here and here.

And who is old enough to remember Al Pacino's extraordinary, febrile performance in this?


Dale said...

Sounds lovely!

Zhoen said...


herhimnbryn said...

Rouders AND cheesecake? "Perfec" ( as Pa Larkin, would say!).

Anonymous said...

Rounders? That brings back memories! Unfortunately for me not good ones. We played it at school, and I was a disaster, so when the teams were picked, I was always last, and was accepted by the unfortunate team that had to have me on it with less than good grace. I believe rounders, hockey and netball were my sports downfall. I can't believe how much fun I have playing football (soccer) with my friend, after so many years of a troubled relationship with any kind of sports involving rapidly moving spheres!

I'm glad your experience this weekend was positive!

Sky said...

hmmmm.....sounds almost like a typical summer afternoon in america - a picnic with hot dogs and a game which sounds an awful lot like baseball! ;))

oh, i am so glad i no longer live in the south. a heat wave has rendered much of the united states a sweltering haze of humidity and heat. even here in the cool, temperate climate of western washington we are quite warm today, but luckily our temps will return to mild by week's end.

so glad you had an afternoon of such fun. just what we all need to remind us that difficult times are not permanent.

leslee said...

I read that last line too quickly and thought, oh dear, I am old and feeble! Oh, febrile. Never mind!

Glad you had fun. Nothing like it for breaking up a sense of stagnation. You may not get anywhere while having fun, but it's entirely beside the point. (Hm, might be a lesson there...)

mm said...

Dale: It was :-)

Zhoen: Woof.

HHB: You've homed in on two of the things that gave me particular pleasure.

Tky: Thanks. Oh I remember those situations. Not in rounders in my case but hockey. I'm delighted you're enjoying the soccer!

Sky: apparently rounders is indeed the forerunner of baseball. The bat is smaller and thinner though and the ball is therefore more difficult to hit, in my experience anyway .....

It was fun, and much apppreciated.

Leslee: Your mis-reading made me smile. And your last two sentences go to the heart of the matter, methinks.