A star brings summer

July 6, 2013 

This little sphere we call home has arrived at its aphelion, meaning Earth is now 3 million more miles distant from its sunny furnace than it was in January, the furthest away it will be all year. That raises the question of why July is always so hot, laden with those torpid, sun-loaded days blasting our crowns.

Astrologers of an earlier era thought the intensity of summer heat was in part caused by the brightest of all stars, Sirius, the dog star, aligning behind the unforgiving sun (thus the term “dog days”). They reasoned that the combining of solar energies triggered the torrid burst of heat called summer.

July, and its attendant weather, provides most wonderful excuses for laying aside the tools of the day’s labor and heading for some pleasantly shaded veranda, where cool drinks are served and lawn umbrellas ward off sunburn and humid ocean breezes proliferate. Here, summer speaks of the corrosive kiss of salty ocean breezes, of the smothering humidity, of the never-ending song of the surf, hissing and rumbling, and wind- and wave-driven sands.

Midst the still and silent cypress backwaters, dragon flies hover and turtles doze to the tune of the siren songs of yellow fly and vampire mosquito. Sun-basted afternoons are interspersed with quick- passing summer squalls. Vivid sunsets, dancing heat lightning and balmy, sweet-perfumed evenings merge into moonless nights of starlight, fireflies and glow worm.

Summer, like a wildflower blossom, is fleeting. With the passage of its first 30 days, about half an hour of daylight shall be lost along the way as Apollo’s chariot swings toward those faraway pastures of autumn.

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