The Romans called this time, the Dog Days of Summer, beginning July 24th and ending August 24th. Dog, after Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, which in ancient times would rise, like Venus, with the morning sun. A season of super moons and harvest moons, languid days of heat and restless nights.
Being a foodie of sorts, it is my favourite time of year for eating. And friends and family will tell you that I do like to eat. I inherit it through the Whitson side: all those smorgasbords our father took us to as kids.
In Edmonton, Alberta, for a few days every year, produce in the markets is fresh and local: from lettuce to carrots, chard to corn, radishes to beets. I load up every Saturday morning. The stores are full of sweet BC fruits: peaches, nectarines, cherries, sugar plums. I grab as many as I can carry; stuff them into my fridge; spin them into smoothies; eat them in other people’s pies and crumbles. Eat them straight. Stuff myself.
Dog Days. This is the season to gather honey. I go out more, I see friends more, I walk and walk and cycle. I don’t mind driving long distances. The horizon is open and whatever happens to me, it won’t be a snow storm or a snow bank I’ll be stuck in. I find I have days of complete relaxation. Maybe it’s because of vacation taken, maybe it’s a coinciding of vacation time in our collective unconscious. Everything slows.
The other weekend, I called a friend up for a walk through the river valley. It was spur of the moment, a perfect morning, and so good to have a wide open day with no plans written across it. “A joy” I said, to go off rambling with a friend and have no commitments pressing.
“Golden,” she said, a little “like retirement.”
A little like summer, I say.