It’s Too Darned Hot!
Hello! Thank you Cole Porter for the inspiration for the title. The Pub is open and we had a slam bang anniversary last week. Today is Haibun Monday and basically, our haibun are going to be about summer heat. Right now in Richmond, it is so hot that birds are dipping their worms into iced tea; that the melt time for a popsicle is 10 seconds, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups have turned into shooters…you get the picture!
We are in the midst of the Dog Days – roughly July 3 – September 14. These are the hottest days of the Northern Hemisphere and coincide with the heliacal rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. Sirius was Orion’s dog and is part of Orion constellation. Richard Adams also uses it to describe the English summer in Watership Down: “Now came the dog days – day after day of hot, still summer, when for hours at a time light seemed the only thing that moved; the sky-sun, clouds and breeze-awake above the drowsing downs.”
The ancients also noticed this time of year. Homer in the Iliad says:
“Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky
On summer nights, star of stars,
Orion’s Dog they call it, brightest
Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat
And fevers to suffering humanity.”
“like to the star that cometh forth at harvest-time,
and brightly do his rays shine amid the host of stars in the darkness of night,
the star that men call by name the Dog of Orion. Brightest of all is he,
yet withal is he a sign of evil, and bringeth much fever upon wretched mortals”
In Japan, they call this season natsubate – literally translated to summer fatigue. Japan can be a miserable place in the summer. Air conditioning is expensive and so they find other ways to help beat the heat. Drinking cold beverages, particularly green tea and barley tea, wearing loose fitting yakata (an informal kimono worn after showers or work made of cotton), eating cold foods such as ices and the children particularly enjoy eating noodles in which ice cubes have been placed to keep them cold!
So – what have you to say about heat? About keeping cool? About being hot during an activity like gardening or exercise or sitting on the porch and fanning yourself? About learning lessons, falling in love, breaking up, getting married/divorced? Losing a job, getting your first job? How did dog days summer affect you and these times in your life? Give me your best shot at this in a tight one paragraph haibun with a true, classical nature oriented haiku at the end (with season and cutting words). And remember, this is not fiction but a true accounting. Those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, I know you all can certainly remember your most recent summer!
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