The scorching sun + humidity = sweltering August days. These are the so-called “dog days” of summer. Does the origin of this phrase interest you as much as it did me? Indulge me by making your way through the brief history lesson that follows. There’s a point here, I promise.
The term dog days was used by the Romans in reference to July and August, when Sirius, the Dog Star, rose just before or at the same time as sunrise. According to John Brady’s A Compendious Analysis of the Calendar (published in 1813), these days were popularly believed to be an evil time when “the sea boiled, the wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and frenzies.” Forgive me for going all literary here. I simply needed to know from whence the term came, and thought you might find interest in it, too. Clearly, the upshot is that August has always gotten a bad rap.
We’re here to urge you: Do not let these dog days get the best of you! While it’s tempting to hide away in the AC and shift your thoughts toward winding down into fall (trust me, I’ve been there more than a few times), summer is still in full swing! Our mission for this issue was to collect the best of the best of our online initiative, 101 Days of Summer, to present you with 31 ideas to inspire you to get more out of the final days of summer. (Go ahead and call them whatever you want.)
Please share with us your memorable summer outings at facebook.com/newjerseyfamily. In the meantime, for an extra dose of literary inspiration, we leave you with the following quote from the American writer Henry James: “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
Make the most of them.