The whippoorwill singing atop the live oak by the lake can barely be heard above the katydids, the rumbling of offshore storms and the hum of the mosquito magnet working overtime in the backyard’s windward corner. The slow, yellow-green blinking of lightenin’ bugs seems abruptly switched on and the white flashes of the approaching storms fill the impending darkness as the retreating sun de-saturates dusk’s canvas. Even at this time of the evening the temperature remains oppressive while the seasonal sou’westerly trade winds keep the humidity palpable. Streams merge with tributaries that form rivers of sweat flowing south across our nearly naked bodies as we bask in the sauna that is August in Florida. We are deep in the dog days of summer. And, making it official, there in his normal evening perch in the foxtail palm sits the mockingbird, songless. Relentless they are, these dog days of summer. It seems they will never end.
Mockingbirds sit out this harshest part of the summer. But no, we aren’t so smart. We continue suffering our daily activities, wondering how anything might have ever been done in the deep south with clothes on and without air-conditioning…or a blender and ice. Blended, frozen libations in overpriced insulated plastic tumblers and the occasional dip in the pool are the sum of our attempts at mediating the endless onslaught of dog days. It’s a difficult battle, but one we are willing to wage. One made easier by the knowledge that heat and humidity do not require a shovel. I’ll let y’all know when the mockingbird starts singing again.