Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Surviving Dog Days

Advice From Experts

“Paper fans in sweaty fans
Shooing flies away
Reflections on a porch
A shelter from the scorch
When dog days came around.”
        ~ Dog Days, The Atlanta Rhythm Section

By Doc Lawrence

STONE MOUNTAIN, GA- It’s a good time to avoid cuts, scrapes and insect bites, according to folklore. Miss Tobie Grant, perhaps the wisest person I ever knew, told me when I was a child that “things don’t heal right during the Dog Days.” Her advice was to be careful, take it easy and think quiet thoughts.

The specter of Dog Days is nothing new. The Old Farmer's Almanac assigns it as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, a period coinciding with the rising of Sirius, the Dog Star, at sunrise. These are the hottest days of the year with the least rainfall in the Northern Hemisphere.

The ancient Greeks, according to the divine Greek-American Sarah Mallas Wayman, an Atlanta lawyer, provide elaborate lore associated with Sirius. “The first appearance during the final days of July and early August,” she instructs, “indicated the dominance of sweltering temperatures; a warning of heat, fire, and even fevers.” Dog Days, she added, “were viewed as an evil time when wine soured and the oceans boiled.”

We survive all this, of course. It is comforting to think about the pleasures we’ll enjoy in just a short time. College football season debuts with its pageantry and traditional rivalries. Then, there’s the return of tailgating, our great game day feast. According to Frank Spence, the former Atlanta Falcons front office executive, “tailgating is now a solid part of Americana with deep Southern roots.”

Harvest festivals are scheduled when we again embrace cooler days and nights. A prelude to fall leaf season.

I’m already feeling better. And before the day gets away, I’ll head down to the lake to catch some bream and largemouth bass for dinner. Maybe inviting neighbors over. Fresh fish with good wine is another one of those antidotes for the Dog Days blues.

Survival advice could fill a book. My favorite philosopher remains the great Satchel Paige who offered common sense: “Avoid running at all times.”

1 comment:

  1. I am embracing the "think quiet thoughts" advice, even in this time of political uproar. Thanks for the optimism Doc.