I have a couple of enjoyable little books that reveal the origins of sayings. “Dog days of summer” is one of those sayings that annually comes to mind but I don’t recall running across how it came about.Usually there is a bit of history involved or it comes from a time honored author. Many, though, are such that with a bit of imagination, one can figure it out for themselves. “No big deal”; “Simple as apple pie!”
I was confident that it was not something that could be attributed to Caesar, although I did once have heat stroke when visiting San Gimignano in central Italy. Shakespeare would, I’m certain, have put it differently and Churchill, a source of many memorable one liners, having been English probably didn’t give much thought to the waning days of summer. The possibility that such a phrase could be attributed to Mark Twain had merit. He wrote a lot about summer and wasn’t from England.
This past weekend was hot. No, it was unusually and exceptionally hot for us. The Inn was filled with stargazers up to view the meteor shower and the Milky Way. Stargazers, like birders and hikers, make for smart and spirited conversation. Passing through the Great Room I heard it…”dog days of summer.” I was excited to join in and also, I wanted to defend Julian by explaining that the weekend temperatures were not the norm for my favorite spot in this whole wide world.
So now I know: “The Dog” (Sirius) is a very bright star in the Canis Major constellation that rises and sets with the sun. Thus begins “the dog days of summer.”
I confess that I would have never put that together. It’s very possible that Caesar just may have been the originator of this scholarly expression after all, albeit probably in Latin. One of his astronomers might have mentioned this celestial event in the hopes that Caesar might avoid his own heat stroke and want keep him around for something other than feeding the lions.
P.S. Thank you to George for this stunning picture of the Milky Way as seen looking back over the lodge.
Sunday Supper—for Special Events and Special People
Our delicious dinner returns to Orchard Hill on Sunday, September 20th.
Our traditional four-course dinner is served finely and unrushed in our beautiful Craftsman and Julian dining rooms. Romantic and relaxing, a return to a time honored tradition of a meal responsibly and professionally prepared with fine ingredients which are flavorful and satisfying.
Served Sunday nights for guests and Super Club Members only. $48.00 per person. Advanced reservations required. Orchard Hill will need to cancel if less than five tables are reserved.
Photo by George Robinson