There is a phrase around the South, mentioning the “Dog Days” of summer, based on the erroneous belief that the dog star Sirius is closer to the Earth in midsummer, adding to the sun’s heat. I know it’s not true, but I’m tempted to believe it, as hot as it is. The pavement is almost hot enough to crack, and wearing clothes is misery-inducing. As is phantom fur.
All the people out and about look hot and drained, and their weary dogs pant and droop their ears, and I with them. But my ears aren’t there, and even though I don’t sweat, as a human I have the potential to do so, making panting unnecessary. I find a cool, shady spot to wait for the library doors to open, and without the typical human inhibitions about sitting on the ground, I take a seat, in one smooth canine-feeling motion. It has always bothered me that this body is so ill-built for comfort without human furniture; the ground is so far away, it takes so many stages of movement to reach it, and then getting back up is awkward. If I walked on all fours, laying down would be so much simpler…
I sit among the growing, standing crowd, people-watching out of the corner of my eyes, or following their reflections in the door-glass in front of me. Everything is arranged so I can see myself, right up to my face, which somehow is obscured. I like it this way; my face has never felt like me, and I’m happier not seeing it. It’s one of many reasons I dislike mirrors. I see my usual, rather hunched posture, and my muscular forearms. Human forearms aren’t much different than a dog’s, and this has always made them more pleasant for me to look at. My hair is as wild as ever, and it wings out to the side a bit from my face. It looks faintly like ears-to-the-side, in a canine expression that defies human words. It seems utterly normal to see something like that in my reflection, and I don’t even question it. On the way home, I see a dog with my hair color, and my fur-feelings intensify enough to make me feel hotter.
Maybe there is some truth to the dog-days myth; maybe today is a gift from my bright-breasted patron. I don’t know, and in typical dog fashion I don’t really care. Still, I enjoyed it, heat and all.
Dogs Days of Summer