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Just Outside My Door 07/12/12

July 18, 2012
By ELAINE?G. COLE - COLUMNIST ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

Independence Day is past and we don't have another legal holiday until Labor Day. Meanwhile we are having a very warm and dry summer, Nevertheless, roadsides are filled with flowers. I am especially enjoying the blue chicory blossoms that have burst into bloom and all the other wild flowers. My flower beds are lovely too and as we travel around we see numerous other places that are filled with flowers. Also, have you noticed the flowers on Sherman's Main street and all around our little town? It's a joy to drive around and just see all the beauty.

Yes, summer is a great time of year and this year thus far we haven't had cold temperatures. In fact now I think we are having dog days for our thermometer has rocketed up above 90% for several days and the humidity has often been high. It appears that we will be having more of the same. I tend to dislike the heat, but then I remember that it gives me a good excuse not to cook or do any strenuous tasks. Moreover, I could just visit my neighbor. I'm thankful our house stays cool inside and I can always read there or go to one of our children's house near by and swim in their pool. It's sometimes nice to go to some air-conditioned, but place if I do I have to take a sweater to keep warm! There's also the option to go to an air conditioned maul, but I don't like to shop. Whatever the weather I enjoy summer for it's a wonderful time of year even when "Dog days" arrive.

"Dog Days" occur during the hottest and muggiest part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Webster defines those days as the "period between early July and early September". It's a time of stagnation and inactivity, but did you ever wonder where how that term came about?

Many years ago in ancient days there was a time when the night sky was obscured by artificial lights and smog. Some groups of people in various parts of the world drew images in the sky by connecting the dots of stars. The images made were dependent on the culture. For instance, the Chinese saw different pictures than the Native Americans and the Europeans saw even different ones. The star pictures that came from our European ancestors are called constellations today and they are mapped out in the sky. I have never studied those pictures so don't recognize any except the big and little dippers, but recently I read a lot about some others and their names.

Some images were of bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, (Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), dogs (Canis Major and Cans Minor) and others.

The brightest stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius and it's the brightest star in the night sky is Sirius. Because of its brightness the ancient Romans thought the earth got heat from it.

In summer Sirius, the "dog star," rises and sets with the sun. In late July Sirius is in combination with the sun and ancients believed its heat added to the suns heat, making a time of hot and sultry air. Thus the name "dog days". Today "dog days" occur during the period between July 3 and August 11 and it's certainly the hottest time of the year in our area. But, the heat does not come from a far-away bright star. It is a direct result of the earth's tilt.

It appears that we have been having the "dog days" the past couple weeks. Weather it will continue until August 11 is yet to be seen. I don't complain too much if I can just be lazy! However, I can sympathize with those who have to work outside or in hot places. However, it might help to remember it doesn't last too long in our area and keep in mind that winter is in the offing. Moreover, one can't change the season or weather which God creates for He is always in control. I'm extremely happy for that.



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