Dog Days

We’re in the dog days of summer, and I’m wondering what you, my friends, are up to. It’s not possible to pick up the phone and check in with each of you, so I’ll ask here:  How are you spending your summer?

Perhaps you still work full- or part-time and that fact has a firm grip on how you’re spending your days. Perhaps you still work but have recently taken or plan to take a vacation in the next month or two. If so, where are you going?

If you’re retired, like me, a formal vacation doesn’t carry the same anticipatory weight it used to, when it represented a decided break from the drudgery of work-day routines. Yet, sweet summer days, when the rays of the sun easily burn my ass-white legs, are nevertheless delicious and to be celebrated.

What I Love

I love the smell of the lawn furniture fabric threatening to scorch me on these really hot days. I smile easily when I hear the buzz of the big ol’ black boring beetles chomping away at my deck. At their lumbering rate, I won’t have to deal with their damage in my lifetime. I particularly love the hummingbird fights around the ample feeders we set up to sustain them through their dog days. (On second thought, I doubt hummers experience anything remotely resembling dog days. I imagine all their days are spent in frenetic search of sustenance.)

I love that I don’t need to relax and change gears at a big chlorine-filled swimming pool crawling with raucous kids at some fancy resort. Although I can’t see my neighbors through the dense wooded landscaping, I love that I can smell their steaks on the grill, tempting me into a red-meat meal I struggle to avoid.

I love when I get ribbed for wanting to sometimes go to sleep before the sun has set. I laughingly love when it’s 100 degrees and Kali wants to sit on my lap, her thick black furry body generating still more heat on my perspiring legs. I love that the coolness of a darkened matinee movie jovially competes with a walk on the beach.

I love that these things — all of which are low-calorie, low cost, and legal — delight me so.

What I Don’t Love

There’s very little I don’t love about the warmest part of summer. It’s not like I have to get out there and pull the weeds myself or wash the cars. It’s not like I have to do a bunch of cooking and meal planning for a large family dependent on me when it’s so hot I just want to order in.

There’s something about the deep heat of summer, the juxtaposition of laughter over wine on the deck against the memory of snuggly softer chuckles with hot cocoa around the fireplace in winter. There’s something more open and fluid about our exposure to the earthly and spiritual elements when it’s warm.

These dog days feel free and easy, less formal than time spent indoors.

Back At’cha

What about you? What are you up to? What do you love most about the dog days of summer 2016?