Today could have been my 33rd wedding anniversary. I'm grateful that it's not. Yes, I was engaged to be married on August 1, 1981, but it wasn't meant to be. I have no regrets. I hope she has no regrets either. I would like to believe that both of our lives are better than they might otherwise have been.
On that note,... There was a time when the first day of August signified the beginning of the last month of summer vacation. No more. No longer do classes begin after Labor Day. It seems that each year, school begins just a little earlier than the previous year. The first day for students this year is August 18th. Teachers report for work on August 11th. Things have changed since I began teaching forty years ago.
Some have referred to the month of August as "the dog days of summer." I don't know the exact origin of that phrase, but some say that summer's "dog days" signify those hot sultry days "not fit for a dog." Others claim the phrase actually has a celestial origin, referring the sultry part of the summer occurring during the period that Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun. Scientists identify this time as the period from July 3rd to August 11th. It has been observed that farm animals, including dogs, share an interesting way of coping with the summer heat, gathering together in the shade and not moving. That's quite different from those of us living in the United States, who just go about our busy lives in spite of the sometimes oppressive temperatures.
One thing I know for sure is that August can be a period marked by lethargy and inactivity. It is during the months of July and August that I seek a comfortable place in the shade, rather than in the sun, while reading and sipping a cold iced tea in the outdoor patio at LeBoulanger Café in San José.
August isn't what it used to be, but it is what it is, and I'm grateful for that. Baseball season is still in full swing, the start of football season is just around the corner, and at least for two more weeks, I have the opportunity to enjoy some much needed time off work before we launch the 2014-2015 academic year. Is August my favorite month of the year? Absolutely not. But I'm doing everything I possibly can to make it a very good month.