I made the realization this past week that once Midsummer is past, I am pretty much done with summer. I live near the 26th parallel north, and this may have something to do with it. It gets hot here in summer. I also just discovered that the 26th parallel north is the most populous circle of latitude on Earth. Not only does it cross Florida and Mexico, it also crosses Southern China and the Indian subcontinent and straight though Northern Africa, too. All very warm places. And I can imagine most everyone along this parallel thinking, once Midsummer passes, in their own native language, the very same thing I am thinking, which is this: Summer is just now digging in its heels. We still have three months of this to go.
Why do so many of us live in such warm places? I don’t understand it, until it’s January and my teeth are chattering when the temperature dips into the 40s. In July, though, it is easy to despair here over the heat and the humidity. In fact, the Dog Days of Summer just begin now, on the Third of July, as Sirius, the Dog Star, begins its annual rising with the sun each morning. Our ancestors believed the two stars rising together intensified the heat, and though that’s not exactly how it works, it sure feels right. These Dog Days will continue through the 11th of August, at which point Sirius and the sun separate again until next year.
The good news for us here in Lake Worth is that the Atlantic Ocean is just a quick trip across the lagoon, and a day at the seaside is a welcome one when it is this hot. That is the theme of your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for July, featuring a seaside painting by American painter Walt Kuhn. The calendar is, as usual, a printable PDF and a fine companion to this blog. Click here to get yours.
The theme is fitting considering July brings the celebration of Neptunalia & Salacia on the 23rd. This festival of Ancient Rome honored Neptune, the sea god, and his wife Salacia, goddess of the salty sea. July also brings a string of national celebrations: Canada Day on the First, Independence Day here in the States on the Fourth, and Bastille Day in France on the 14th. There are many saints’ days to mark; the most famous of them perhaps being the old weather maker of St. Swithin’s Day on the 15th. It is the month, too, of Tanabata, the lovely Star Festival of Japan, when wishes are written on paper and tied to the trees.
Come month’s end it will be Lammas Eve, and Lammas, the First Harvest festival on the First of August, brings our annual acknowledgment that summer is ripening and autumn is not far behind. Unless you happen to live along the 26th parallel. If you do, summer is that house guest that’s not going anywhere for a long long time. You may as well get used to its presence.
SUMMER HIGH FIVE SALE
Here’s a “lighter fare” sale for summer: Enjoy a quick & easy $5 off your purchase of $35 on everything in the store with discount code HIGH5 at checkout. Plus domestic orders of $75 or more ship free! CLICK HERE to shop (and to see a photo of my mom, circa 1950, fishing pole in hand, wearing cool shades and plaid in a row boat).
Image: “Bathers on a Beach” by Walt Kuhn. Oil on canvas, 1915. Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid. [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.