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Enjoying the dog days of summer

Enjoying the dog days of summer Enjoying the dog days of summer

It’s mid-to-late August, one of those times of year that gets its own label: “The Dog Days of Summer.” I remember my dad using that term a lot around this time of year, when the last few heat waves of summer hit the Upper Midwest (unless, of course, you have an “Indian Summer,” i.e., an unseasonably warm September).

Whenever I hear the term, I immediately think of an old dog, his tongue dangling out of his slobbery mouth as he pants under the summer sun. I also think of weedy lakes and thick pond scum, the result of months of sun-drenched plant growth. On land, the grass is either dry and parched-brown at this point, or the it’s growing so fast, you have lift the mower up just so the blades don’t get clogged up (this happened to me this past weekend).

The endless rows of corn are also at their most majestic this time of year, standing tall and proud as a testament to another year of farmers’ hard work. As I was riding my bike last night, I briefly imagined pulling over to the side of the road and walking into one of those cornfields, like I used to do when I was a kid visiting my cousins on their farm. I don’t think I ever went in that deep, though, and it definitely seems like the rows are much tighter together than they used to be.

Of course, because of that horrible C-wordwe’reallsickof hearing,thissummer has been anything but normal. Most of the festivals, fairs and other events that define the months of June through August were cancelled or greatly scaled back, making it feel like the season itself was somehow shortened. Like everyone, I can’t wait to get back to attending large gatherings (or even smaller ones) without feeling guilty or on edge.

That said, I was still able to get out and see some friends and family that I haven’t seen since as long ago as Christmas. I maybe didn’t take every single precaution recommended by the CDC, but I feel like I’ve been keeping my distance more than I normally do, and I’m definitely better about wearing a mask, even though I hate it, especially when it’s hot and muggy. I prefer to have it pulled down around my chin most of the time, so I can just yank it back up over my mouth and nose when someone comes by.

If the health experts are right — and I sure hope they are — the more restrictions and precautions we have in place now, the shorter this whole thing will last. After one more trip up north to my parents’ cabin in Minnesota this weekend, I know I’ll be hunkering down for the foreseeable future. All the talk of a “second wave” me makes worry about more shutdowns and sickness this fall.

But, it’s still summer, and I’m not going to let a microbe ruin it all for me. This dog still has some sun to soak up.