Temps in the 100s for several days now, here in the South.
Seems perfectly reasonable: The month of July, named in honor of the family of Roman ruler Julius Caesar, was considered the point in the year when the sun was most potent.
The ancient Saxons called July “Hey Monath,” because it was when they usually mowed and made their hay-harvest.
Hot-and-heavy July greets us—body and soul—smack in the middle of sweet summertime, when we might be wishing for more than an Italian ice to cool us. Maybe a trip to Alaska.
Summer’s extreme “dog days” are said to begin in early July and extend into August, based on folklore connected with the rising and setting of the star Canicula (or Sirius)—the Little Dog—in coincidence with the sun.
How to cope? Adjust plans ... hydrate often ... alternate rest and work and play.
The soul too has its “dog days”—times when even the slightest effort toward self-care and discipline seems too much. But July’s sweltering days are only part of the story. Unexpectedly lush lawns and gardens, and occasional cool, pristine evenings can also offer compensation. And, after all, it IS summer.
“Summer afternoon,” Henry James once said to Edith Wharton. “To me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
Poet William Blake suggests that we expand our vision, urging us to open our inner eyes to beauty and thereby enlarge our souls:
To see the World in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
“As a child, I was quite successful at living life fully, because I had not yet learned to live by the calendar. I lived by heart.” —Macrina Wiederkehr in The Circle of Life.
“Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries.” —Corita Kent.
And—keep lots of ice handy!
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