The dog days of summer

Pastor Mitch McDonald

Pastor Mitch McDonald

Pastor Mitch McDonald

We often hear about the “dog days” of summer, but few know what the expression means. Some say that it signifies hot, sultry days “not fit for a dog;” others suggest it’s the weather in which dogs go mad. The dog days of summer describes the most oppressive period of summer, between July 3 and August 11 each year. But where did the term come from? And what does it have to do with dogs?

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 that is visible from any part of Earth and also part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. This is why Sirius is sometimes called the Dog Star.

In the summer, “Sirius” rises and sets with the sun. On July 23, specifically, it is 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 (thanks, Farmers’ Almanac).

Thus, the term Dog Days of Summer came to mean the 20 days before and after this alignment of Sirius with the sun — July 3 to August 11.

How do we fill these hot, drawn-out, boring dog days of summer? Fill them with fun and exciting things to do at your local church. We here at Sun Lakes Community Church (SLCC) are doing our best to find fun ways to fill these scorching days with some cool, enjoyable activities.

* Movie Days: Every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in Chapel Center. Join us to enjoy a free movie, popcorn, candy and cool drink. (see our ad in this paper for more information.) All are welcome!

* August 8: Join us for a free and informative look at how we, as adults, can address isolation in our lives. The course will be taught by Dr. Roger Daniels, a family therapist who is well respected throughout Arizona. The event is free and includes a sandwich lunch. For more information and to secure a seat, call the church office at 480-895-9147 (brought to our community by the SLCC and Pursue Life Ministries).

* Every Sunday: We meet in the Navajo Room in the Sun Lakes clubhouse at 10:30 a.m. This is a time set aside for us just to get to know one another. We enjoy coffee, punch and some great cookies. We would love to have you join in. There are no reservations required and, who knows, you may just get an invitation to lunch.

So, the dog days really can be turned into days filled with joy and activity. Consider yourself invited to redefine a long dog day of summer, into a day of meeting new friends, enjoying new events and getting out of that house and enjoying a new season of life.