Summer is winding down, and August may just be the last chance to get outdoors and explore the sunshine days, before the season shifts into autumn.
August is often referred to as being the Dog Days Of Summer, but what are they exactly and why the reference to dogs?
Traditionally referred to as a period of particularly hot, sultry and humid weatherduring the summer months of July and August in the Northern Hemisphere. These summer days get their name from the ancient Romans and Greeks, who believed it was astrology that was responsible for the heat, although thanks to the planetary shifts since then, it is likely that it refers to another time of the year completely, as it will again thousands of years from now. Isn’t it funny how we adopt phrases into our cultures, long after there meaning may have changed.
To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the time Sirius appears to rise alongside the sun, in late July in the Northern Hemisphere. They believed the heat from the two stars combined is what made these days the hottest of the year.
These days were believed to be a bad time of drought and unrest, a time when dogs and men alike were said to be driven mad by the extreme heat.
Today the phrase is more endearing in its regard and associated simply with the peak of our summer temperatures! A time we Brits love the most!
Schools close at this time too, and families often go on their favourite holidays and getaways. Music festivals are still in full swing and England is in a holiday mood for sure. It’s a wonderful time to enjoy the beauty of the Jurassic Coast and the plentiful beaches, stunning cliff walks and hikes.
There is so much to love about August and it’s arguably one of the best times to enjoy the country.
And as we look around our beautiful countryside landscapes we will start to see the leaves drying out on our hedgerows, plants and trees, and the flowers begin to fade, whilst young animals start to seek independence from their family groups. Some birds will even begin their migration paths to the South. In fact August can start to look quite charmingly untidy as the transition to Autumn begins and the floors of our country lanes start to welcome the fallen leaves of summer.
Colour palettes edge towards the change from the bright and abundant greens and yellows, to the more sophisticated yellow and golden shades. Days will slowly become shorter as the sun lowers in the sky, and it’s a time when farmers will begin to crop and shape their fields, leaving hay bales dotted across the landscape.
Rosehips, wild raspberries and red berries start to appear with their bright pops of colour along our hedgerows, blueberries are ripe and sweet, and the song of bright Yellowhammer birds will last long into the last of our summer evenings, as one of the last birds to sing out the season.
Feelings of change, of cycles, infinite potential and opportunity preside, for nothing shall remain the same. Change, growth and a rebirth will always come. Summer will slide into Autumn and a new season shall begin.