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  • Writer's pictureFrank Finamore

From Frank ... did you survive the dog days?

This may surprise you but we’ve just passed my favorite time of the year - the “dog days of summer.” As a dog lover, I had always assumed the expression came from the lethargic face of a dog (like Rosie here) looking for relief from the extreme summer heat.

But, and maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, the “dog days” can trace its origin back to Roman times. The “dog days of summer” are the 20 days before and 20 days after Sirius, the dog star, rises and sets in conjunction with the sun (July 23). Sirius being the brightest star was believed by the Romans to add its heat to the sun’s in this period, producing the very hot “dog days.”

My reason for loving this time of year has nothing to do Sirius or dogs (sorry Rosie). It’s because it’s the time of year that we take time for ourselves. Whether escaping to a cooler climate family getaway in the north or just finding more time to relax inside during the hottest part of the day.

As a native of the area, I certainly have fond memories of sleeping on our screened in porch to get through the hot summer nights without air conditioning. When Woodley and Cleveland Park neighborhoods were built, many saw them as the summer getaway from the swampier environs of downtown DC. Of course, only the wealthiest could afford summer homes and so other measures were historically taken to deal with the heat and humidity. History buffs might enjoy this NPR article on how Washingtonians managed.

Reminder: Sign Up for the Capitol Tour

Wherever the name comes from, it is hot during the dog days (and after). So stay hydrated! For those of you in town on Thursday, August 25th, we’ll be touring the US Capitol while Congress is in recess. Click here to register. The group will be limited to just 15 people.

I hope in these last few weeks of summer that everyone is able to escape from the heat or otherwise, and to recharge a bit. Rosie and I hope to see you, maybe in a shady spot out walking.

Frank Finamore is Executive Director of the Village


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