06 September 2013

Dog days

That's la canicule in French, and you can see that the term derives from 'canine'. Officially dog days are over, but yesterday the weather wasn't paying attention to the calendar. We had what is called « un soleil de plomb » in French: a 'leaden' sun. It's idiomatic, and very different from English usage of 'leaden' — our 'leaden sky' is dull and dark gray, usually cold, while the French soleil de plomb expresses the idea that the sun is a heavy burden bearing down on the Earth and its people.

Callie, sunbathing (must be a nude beach)

Anyway, it seems to be over. This morning is blustery, and storm clouds are moving in. Yesterday at lunchtime, Walt looked off the deck down toward the front gate and was surprised to see Callie sprawled out on the gravel driveway. What was the poor dog thinking? Was she warming her bones one last time? She didn't stay there long.

No crowds on this "beach" — it is September, after all.

Later in the afternoon, Callie and I went out in the back yard and played with the hose. She loves to try to drink or bite water squirting from the nozzle. She runs around me in wide circles while I do my best to wet her down. She's in heaven. Sorry, no pictures... When the temperature outside is 90 or so, her coat dries really fast. By the time we got back from taking a short afternoon walk, she was all dry and a little bit cleaner than she had been.

You can see how deep the shadows were yesterday, with that sun beating down.

We had of course planned outdoor activities for today — a picnic in a park. We'll have to have an indoor picnic, I think. It's too windy, even if the rain holds off. Our food would be blowing all around, and the temperature is supposed to top out at 70.


  1. Maybe Callie was just getting in one more dirt bath before the shower.

  2. Callie was soaking up some sunshine...they love to feel the warmth of the sun....seems to be a dog thing.

  3. It's interesting to note that, if I'm not mistaken, the meaning of 'plomb' in two French expressions is different. In 'soleil de plomb' it refers to [virtual] weight and in 'ciel de plomb', just as in English, it refers to color.

    I can't resist citing four verses from "Émaux et Camées" by Théophile Gautier:

    "Le Nil, dont l'eau morte s'étame
    D'une pellicule de plomb,
    Luit, ridé par l'hippopotame,
    Sous un jour mat tombant d'applomb."

  4. P.S. For those interested in reading the poem in Fremnch, here is a link:


  5. our dogs do that too - lay in the gravel when its so hot. great pic of her!

  6. My Border Collie used to love the hose in hot weather too...
    used to charge the nozzle, biting the water jet all the way!!

  7. Callie has a great life! When you get those high temps, it seems much warmer than ours here in Alabama and the sun seems closer also.

    Thanks for the poem, CHM.

  8. It must be my monitor: Callie's coat looks like a chestnut color - I've been picturing her coat as more brownish? Or - perhaps it has bleached out due to her sunbathing???

    All day yesterday it poured; we had thunder and lightening. This afternoon it is supposed to go back to the same 80+ temperatures that has been the norm for the past couple of weeks. Crazy summer.

    Hope you got that picnic in, anyway, even if it had to be inside.


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