As avowed dog fanatics, allow us to geek out for a minute. The Canis Major constellation is visible in summer, and the brightest star of Canis Major is Sirius – a.k.a. the Dog Star.
The term “Dog Days” originated in ancient Greek culture, though it’s more often associated with ancient Rome. In ancient times, Sirius would rise at the same time as the sun. With that powerful entrance and the fact that it’s one of the brightest stars in the night sky (depending on time of year), little old Sirius took on a lot of meaning.
Most notably, Sirius was blamed for the hottest time of the year in each of the Northern and the Southern hemispheres, hence, the “Dog Days” of summer. The Earth’s perpetual change of axis has shaken up the timing of the celestial sightings, but it hasn’t changed that gorgeous time of transition between summer and fall.
As far as we can tell most canines aren’t particularly fond of the summer heat wave and are anxious to get a move on into the crisp days of fall. As days get shorter and cooler, we present five canine-approved things to take advantage of the last summer heat before it yields to full-fledged fall.
5. Jump in the ocean, a river or a high mountain lake. Come on! This may be your last chance for the next eight or nine months to be even remotely comfortable during an outdoor swim.
4. Paella harvest party. Wrap up your responsibilities and health-oriented activities early because this afternoon is all about food and Spanish wine. Paella is about bringing what you have on hand for the community feast. Gardeners bring veggies and everyone else can bring five bucks worth of chicken or mussels or whatever suits your imagination. Cheap, easy, communal. Cook the paella outside over some coals, fire up the Bocce ball and toast to another day of the good life.
3. Close to home adventures. If summer is the domain of big adventures and long road trips, early fall is the time to check out the amazing terrain right our your backdoor. For every weekend in September, choose a cardinal direction and find a place you’ve never explored within an hour’s drive.
2. Easy livin’ camping trip. For most of us, our tents and sleep pads yield valuable garage real estate to skis and snowshoes for the winter. With fewer daylight hours and cooler evenings, it can be hard to muster enough excitement to eke out one last camping trip of the season. Here’s an idea: take it easy! Toss some chairs, a good book and a cooler full of ice in the car and drive directly to your chosen spot. By all means, camp next to a killer mountain bike trail or plan to speed hike a rugged trail. But the actual camping portion doesn’t need to be hardcore. We’re talking: spare no comfort, all the gear you want, cocktails in the evening and coffee in the morning. You’ve proved your toughness all summer, now take a note from the sun and settle down.
1. Revel in the transition. Whether you’re in the relative weather homogeneity of Southern California or the world-renowned seasonal Shangri-La of New England, let’s all celebrate the elusive “change” of seasons. How good does it feel to wrap up in a wool sweater on the first crisp morning after months of heat? How much have you missed the smell of a wood burning stove or longed for the taste of apples direct from the tree? Fall is the time of abundance in harvest and the last push of energy before the plants and animals prepare to rest for the winter. As human animals, we may not go from full steam to complete hibernation seasonally, but perhaps this seasonal change can still serve as a reminder that it’s okay to slow down… at least a bit.
photo courtesy: www.heartwormfree.com