Roses and Dog Days

Here in the Carolinas, we’re in the “dog days” of summer. While the phrase identifying the rising of Orion’s dog, Sirius, in the nighttime sky, may have originally been a harbinger of fever and catastrophe, the meaning of the phrase has morphed into a designation of the hottest days of the summer. (Then again, in 2020, maybe the original meaning is still appropriate – more of that later.) In the American South, we understand hot and we’re in the time of year when pop-up thunderstorms bring swift, intense downpours, which frighten good dogs and don’t manage to cool things off a whit. In fact, venturing outside after one of these gully-washers can often feel like walking into a wet wool blanket hanging heavy and sodden on the line.

It’s the kind of heat that Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote Romeo & Juliet, a tragedy in which two teenagers fall passionately in love, swear eternal devotion, and commit suicide when their warring families fight in the streets of Italy – all in the course of four days. (Go back and look at your tattered copy of that play and just look at how many references there are to the heat affecting mood, emotion, and action.

In short, it’s the time of year to stay in the air conditioning and drink fresh iced tea while contemplating the melon you have chilling in the fridge.

Due to such oppressive heat, Covid, and the rest of the ongoing strife of this year’s “fever and catastrophe” (honestly, Homer would have been taking notes on the doings of 2020), roses may be in short supply for you right now. I know I’ve have stretches of the last few weeks that seemed more “thorn” than “bloom.” That’s okay – it’s all part of the garden. But sometimes you need to go out and turn over a new patch of ground to prepare for more roses.

Loving Picnic

For me, it was completing The 100-Day Project. I’ve been delighted at how my skills are increasing, the artists I’ve been made aware of, and by the enthusiastic reception my efforts have gotten from the community at large. At the end of the Project, I realized that I really wanted to sell some of my work and use those funds to buy some new supplies, so I worked on my getting paintings ready to exhibit for a three-day sale and the results were just – bananas! (I’m also making a return visit to the Local Online Vendor Fair on Friday, July 31, so check that out!)

My “roses” from that sale were numerous – naturally, I get a rush from anyone saying, “Ooh! That one caught my eye – I’d like to buy that!” But the “roses” are also in creating something that didn’t exist before you made it. It’s doing something that brings me joy and also spreading some of that joy into the wider world, especially right now when things so often seem so unsettled. However, the “roses” are also having the funds to happily play around with carefully assembling my wish list and then buying the cart! I really wanted a wider palette of quinacridone paints, along with a much wider hake brush for big washes of color.

And I also decided – after months of working from home and (quite possibly) more of that coming this fall* – that I’d treat myself to a new pair of adorable work pajamas. Ooh la la, I must say!

Other “roses” include fresh produce from the local farmer’s market, deciding to take the plunge and buy a large amount of locally-raised beef and start moving away from factory-farmed meat, watching Hamilton after knowing it only from the soundtrack, reading some good books, and walking my dog in what passes for the cool of evening.

101 with the heat index, yes.

Roses, yes.

Roses.

 

* Dogs aren’t the only critters going mad from the heat – plenty of “two legs” out in North Cackalacky are behaving foolishly during the ongoing pandemic.

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