The Dog Days of Summer
As a kid growing up in Connecticut summer began with Memorial Day while Labor Day was the unofficial end of summertime. When we worked at Quassy that was the “season”. For some, summer (unintentional alliteration there) is the season that begins with the summer solstice, June 21st, and ends with the autumnal equinox, September 22nd. Meteorologically speaking, summer begins June 1st and ends August 31st.
Anyway, the Dog Days of Summer are so named because the Dog Star, Sirius, rises at the same time as the sun from June 3rd through August 11th. This happens to correspond to the hottest part of the summer, thus the laziest (like a dog). Of course, all of these definitions of summer are based on the reckoning of people who live in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere. On a side note: how do flat earth people reckon the seasons?
For me, summer classes have just finished (fairly successfully, I might add – I’m just waiting for my final grades to be posted) and softball is finished and football season is just beginning. There is a general sense that things will return to “normal”. In New England, as in most places where the winter defines the character of the people, the Dog Days of Summer signal the end of carefree days, beaches, barbecues and pretty girls. It is back to school, back to work and back to the cold that once it settles in threatens never to leave, like a guest overstaying their welcome.
Autumn looms just over the horizon. There will be leaves changing color, apple cider, maple syrup and the crisp stillness of October nights. In olden times this would be the season of harvest and storing up for the long winter yet to come. Let’s put that off as long as possible if we can. My spring and summer have been very productive and very fruitful. I don’t feel quite ready to pack it up and hunker down for winter yet. There is still so much to be done.
Phenology is the study of seasons (never to be confused with phrenology – the ‘science’ of measuring skulls for occult purposes). For those who aren’t sure, the word ‘occult’ has nothing to do with cults but means simply knowledge that is outside our normal scope. There is also phenomenology, which is occult metaphysics…
- Phenology – a branch of science dealing with the relations between climate and periodic biological phenomena (such as bird migration or plant flowering).
- Phrenology – the study of the conformation of the skull based on the belief that it is indicative of mental faculties and character
- Phenomenology – a philosophical movement that describes the formal structure of the objects of awareness and of awareness itself in abstraction from any claims concerning existence
I meant to segway smoothly from meteorological seasons to a discourse on the seasons of a person’s life and in particular my own. My thoughts these days are not constrained to just one path and I must follow wherever it leads. My interests are not erratic, eccentric or elevated. It is in the mundane as well as the sublime that I draw inspiration from.
It is with difficulty that I can recall my thinking and behaviors growing up. My therapist is always trying to plumb the recesses of my mind for causes and the elusive ‘why’ but, I really have so little to offer. I have said before that I make a terrible witness, my testimony isn’t even reliable regarding my own life. I can’t tell with certainty what is fact and what part fiction from the little of my own life I can recollect at all.
I believe it was Nietzsche who labeled people as “discerning ones”, those who would be their own and follow their own path.
“O my friends! Thus speaketh the discerning one: shame, shame, shame—that is the history of man!”
“The discerning one walketh amongst men as amongst animals.”
“No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
“Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood than of being misunderstood.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
I have plenty to keep me busy until classes start again in September but, I would like to have a little time just to catch up with some of my old philosopher friends like Nietzsche, Immanuel Kant and little psychology with William James to round things out. As it stands now, I am trying to do this Google Classroom project for A New Way, there are Addiction Awareness Club meetings and 1 5k race all coming up. I will make some time for Zarathustra though. Like I stated earlier, I must follow wherever my fickle imagination takes me.
Actually I will probably try to finish reading “S”, the book by J.J. Abrams that is a puzzle and mysterious two books in or one.
Not all who Wander are Lost
Now that the Dog Days of Summer are past it is time to look ahead to the interim period before fall classes begin September 5th. I’m going to figure out how to use my Chinese fitness watch, or whatever it’s called. It uses Bluetooth to communicate with my phone which is another new bit of technology for me to become familiar with. In all of my wandering and vagaries of imagination there is one consistent theme and that is learning and experiencing new things.