August barrels past me in a sideways rush of steam and heat. I’m convinced that it’s flown in on the backs of mosquitos, at least in East Texas. Early mornings are so humid that you wish it would give up and rain. By noon it’s so dry the slightest air movement kicks up a cloud of dust to rival an old Saturday western double feature. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to sit serenely in a frosty theatre at this time of year. If you even make it to the end of the day then it’s just plain hotter than hot. Many counties have enacted burn bans by now. Their signs flank the roadsides where one county gives way to the next. Burn ban – they remind gently. What they mean is – Absolutely Positively No Fire!
In 8 B.C. August got its name from Augustus Caesar. I won’t pretend to know much about him, only that he graciously gave his name to this month and he is not the Caesar from Shakespeare’s tragedy. That would be Julius from last month. I stopped myself just now from calling it “this awful august”. Clearly it is not my favorite month of the year. A melancholy settles in on me about now. Ellie feels it too I think. Her mild grumpiness reaches a peak in the dog days of summer. The other dogs keep a healthy and respectful distance most of the time, except Huckleberry who can get by with almost anything. Ellie is even known to skip walks in favor of a cool soft spot on the sofa. Can’t say that I blame her. Cool inside nap? Hot outside walk? She always has been a smart dog.
Could it be the snakes? No, I see more snakes in April than August. In spring they seek the warmth of the sun as much as I do. In August they welcome the cooler forest shade well hidden under the leaf litter. Our paths don’t cross so much this time of year for which I’m grateful. I have no wish to share a chit chat over an iced tea with them. Jack j juice box however, would probably love to have a snake friend. He has an uncanny way of looking for things that others try to avoid.
Could it be the heat? I don’t mind the heat all that much though. With it comes a built in excuse for so many things. Berry blue sno cones. Dashing through sprinklers. Slow meditative swinging in the shade. That cool inside nap. Waking early and catching the sunrise. All things that I love.
Could it be that back to school days are fast approaching? Remember the countdown of those final days of summer. But, I’m long past all that. And anyway, I liked school. To this very day I’m crazy about new school supplies! Empty spiral notebooks in my favorite colors. Fresh pencils sharpened to a fine point. The unparalleled joy of a new box of crayons. Yep, I totally love school supplies. Dobby likes them too. They make nice chew toys. He feels strongly about the benefits of shredded paper strewn about the room just so.
Could it be that I miss putting together a new fall wardrobe? That’s definitely not it! I grew up wearing a school uniform. I still shy away from plaid skirts, oxford shoes and knee socks. It’s hard to get excited about buying new clothes when they are exactly like the ones you wore last year and exactly like everyone else’s. I didn’t realize it at the time but there’s a real freedom in wearing a uniform. You put far more effort into who you are than into what you wear. Plus…I don’t like shopping. Bo would probably adore shopping. He would overfill his cart with cheetos and bacon treats. And he would nudge himself up under every free hand in the store. Go ahead, you know you want to pet me.
It seems there are an awful lot of good things hidden in August…
There’s nothing quite so wonderful as sitting still on a hot afternoon and reading until your heart is content. I’ve been thinking of reading Harry Potter from start to finish…again. August may be the perfect time to begin such an undertaking. Rain showers of all shapes are a refreshing surprise. It’s lovely to walk beneath the trees in a light summer rain. Cicadas hum loudly overhead and make grand company as you walk the woods. Toads who find themselves trapped in a backyard water offering hop gratefully away after being rescued by a scoop of the hand. Huckleberry snuggles up next to me as I write. You’ve never seen such a happy furry friend. He has good reasons though. I’m pretty sure he just wants to be close enough to get first dibs on any cheese I might be snacking on.
I’m sure there are a dozen reasons to feel melancholy in August or any other month for that matter. None of them can hold you captive without your permission. There is only one month filled to the brim with 31 long hot lazy August days. I have 27 left. I think I’ll make the best of them and jump right in with all four paws just like Sweet Sonya Sue!