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Dog Days are Here


B. Stroh, Coastal Anthology, August 2015


It's one of those sultry July days in the tidal stretch of the Susquehanna. A stiff southerly breeze is blowing up the river like a hairdryer in a steamy bathroom after a hot shower.  It has not rained much upriver for a few weeks, so the water has assumed a translucent green hue that is constantly dissolving through myriad intensities and saturations on the chaotic bay chop.


This morning, through the combined efforts of the overnight slack tide and dead calm, a dismal scum of frothy, brown algae had accumulated in large meandering rafts. That mess is gone now. I wonder where it went. I suppose it just got stirred up and mixed in like Nestle's Quik in a tumbler of milk. Wherever it went, it has allowed the river to resume a clear, crisp and refreshing texture, to counter the discomfort created by the oppressive mid-day sun.


Sitting at the end of our finger pier with my feet dangling in the water, the tips of my toes are a comfortable 78 degrees while a hat covered scar on the top of my head swelters at 98. The sky is cloudless, but it is hard to notice through the powdery, bluish white Chesapeake haze. The air feels ripe for one of those familiar summer squalls to pop. But maybe not today. If we are lucky all we'll get is a searing blood red sunset.


Greetings from my neighbors today mostly stated the obvious: "it's a hot one" or "summer's here" or "oh, this humidity" or "wish we could bottle this for December." I play along and agree. But I love this weather. It is summer. I'm sticky. I'm damp. I'm squinting through my shades. I'm thirsty. I'm sluggish... no, I'm lazy! I'm sucking it up!!  It's July and Sirius is bright in the evening sky. The dog days of summer have arrived on the Susquehanna.

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