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Hartselle Enquirer

Dog days bring gratitude

By Mayor Randy Garrison

Well, I think this week, here in the Hartselle area, we have hit the dog days of summer.

Dog Days are what folks call the hot and humid weather that has settled in the South. I am not sure where this saying came from, so as usual, I did a Google search – and here is what I came up with.

The period from July 3 through Aug. 11 – I was not aware there were set days, either – are known as the Dog Days.

According to Google, the phrase is actually a reference to the fact that, during this time, the sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.

Sirius is sometimes called the Dog Star.

In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the sun. July 23, specifically, it moves in conjunction with the sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather.

They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days.”

The term Dog Days of summer came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the sun – July 3 to Aug. 11 each year.

How about that. I learned something new today and passed it along.

I had assumed the phrase came from dogs lying on front porch to find a cool spot or looking for shade and a cool drink of water.

So, this disproves another phrase we have heard throughout our lives – that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

If we are honest, it has felt more like we’ve been living in a tropical rain forest since early June. In past years, by the end of July and the first few days of August, unless you were watering your lawn, mowing was not needed as often. This year, on the other hand, I find myself mowing about every three days.

Rain seems to have fallen at least five days out of each seven, and the grass is green and growing well.

The only thing the abundance of rain seems to have bothered is my tomato plants. They look terrible – yellow and unhealthy.

I am not sure the excess rain is at fault, but sounds like a good theory.

Our city folks have even had a hard time keeping up with mowing the many areas they are responsible for. By the time one area is finished, it is almost time to mow again.

This includes the cemetery. The weeds and grass have been growing faster than it could be mowed and trimmed. Believe me, it takes a while to weed eat around the entire area.

I’ve heard several folks say that if anyone has been praying for rain, the prayers have been answered, and they can stop.

“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining / Behind the clouds is the sun still shining / thy fate is the common fate of all / Into each life some rain must fall / Some days must be dark and dreary.” That’s by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

So, a happy note to those who have been concerned and a little upset about the rain falling so frequently: According to the weather forecast, that is changing. This week appears to be Dog Days, 100 percent. Hot, humid and dry.

Change is coming. We will soon be looking forward to Friday night lights and college football. At least after all this rain, the grass fields should be in good shape.

As for me, I believe we should be thankful for each day we are given, whether it be sunny or cloudy and even hot as the dickens. The gift of life is precious, and each day should be looked upon in this manner.

God gave us the gift of one more day, and as scripture tells us, “This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it” —Psalm 118:24.

So whether it’s the Dogs Days, the rainforest, cloudy, dreary, windy, icy cold or hotter than blue blazes, let’s love our neighbor, thank God for His blessings and make the most of the 24 hours we have been allotted again today.