Celebrate the dog days for what they are

By Steve Boggs

If you’re like me, your internal clock is set to the school year, not the regular calendar. The year begins in August, when school starts, and ends in July. While the Dog Days of Summer officially began July 3 and do not end until Aug. 11 (according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac), the last two weeks of July are really the heart of the Dog Days.
It’s time to reset our internal clocks over the next couple of weeks. Once Aug. 1 arrives, the pace quickens. We will be busy getting ready for school to begin. Pretty soon it will be football season, the leaves will turn and we will all be behind on our Christmas shopping. Before we know it, graduation season and the NFL draft will be right around the corner.
But until the calendar turns, enjoy the Dog Days of Summer the way they’re meant to be enjoyed. Slow down, sip a glass of iced tea, let the heat and humidity sweat the toxic pace of the past 12 months from your tired body, and enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer.
There’s just nothing like the Dog Days of Summer. Since school let out in May, we’ve gone swimming, played a ton of baseball, went on vacation, popped fireworks and bailed hay. We’re tan, toned and loving life outdoors.
While it’s been hot since late May, now come the Dog Days. It’s a time of brown grass, bagworms and locusts wailing in the evening sun. The heat of summer usually meets up with its ugly cousin, humidity, about this time of year and makes even moving around outside virtually unbearable. We toss away words like scorching heat and trot out words like oppressive.
The Dog Days grind us to a halt every year, and that’s a good thing. The summer’s activities are winding down now, and school is right around the corner. What better way to reset our clocks than to spend a few evenings outside doing absolutely nothing?
When I was a kid, late July was the slowest time of year. In fact, I remember late July before my 16th birthday as being the last time I was officially bored. Bored out of mind, to be specific. There wasn’t much to do in the sticks of southeastern Oklahoma most of the time. During late July, the choices dwindled even further. I literally wasted an entire afternoon once kicking a can full of gravel around town.
Boredom has its advantages, however. I grew to realize that while time passes much more slowly during the Dog Days, it affords the chance to reflect, plan and prepare for the New Year. That’s a habit I still have, even though my kids are in college now. (It’s good to watch marching season pass by, by the way.) That was also a time when my imagination really began to develop.
Forecasters predict that beginning today, the humidity will creep back in and temperatures will move back toward 100 degrees. For the next few days, the old Dog Days will be on full display. Don’t fight it! Let the heat and humidity slow you to a crawl, and realize this time for what it is: A countdown to a New Year.

Steve Boggs is pubisher of The Saline Courier. He can be reached at publisher@bentoncourier.com.