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?