These are the dog days

These are the dog days
monarch butterfly on butterfly weed

Now come  the dog days of August, days of  heat and humidity, sweat and thunder. Days of ripening tomatoes and milkweed pods. Days of monarch butterflies, evenings of fireflies and dog day cicadas. 

The term dog days comes from the dog star Sirius,  which is visible in the night sky at this time.  You can read more about it here

There are more hot days now, thanks to climate change. There are more wildfires, droughts  and floods, heat waves and severe storms. The patterns of weather are changing, too.  

What used to be known as Tornado Alley–Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas–has moved east.  Tornadoes have touched down in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania! 

And the virus is still with us, and mutating. This isn’t the summer we thought it would be.  But just think of last year. 

Last year at this time, the vaccines were not even available yet.

Donald Trump was in the White House. About this time last year, Melania Trump had the roses taken out of  the Rose Garden.

There was even talk of postponing the 2020 election, due to the pandemic. Mail was being sabotaged. People were protesting the killing of George Floyd. 

The  August 10 derecho in 2020  devastated parts of Iowa and Illinois. People are still recovering. 

Chicago was in Phase 4 of re-opening. There was cautious optimism.

I am still cautious and optimistic.  In spite of crowds at Lollapalooza and surge of people at Sturgis, South Dakota,  the vaccines  still offer the best protection against the spread of the delta variant. Please  be careful, wear masks and get vaccine, if you can.

The good news is, vaccination rates are up, even as COVID cases are rising, again.  

Be aware that West Nile virus mosquitos are still here in Cook county. The first human case was reported in mid-June. You can read the story, here.

 I wondered if West Nile mosquitos could also  transmit COVID-19 and the variants.  According to the CDC, the answer is NO!  That’s good news, to me.


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  • "About this time last year, Melania Trump had the roses taken out of the Rose Garden."

    This reminds me of what the poet Edgar Lee Masters once wrote:

    "There will come a time when crimes against culture
    Will be punished the same as murder."

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Thank you, AW. Yes, many crimes. There will be roses in the Rose Garden again, I hope!

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Well said. May the return of the roses get as much publicity!

  • BTW, I have 3 butterfly weed plants in my garden. Open a seed pod and you might be surprised.

    Sidebar: And I did see a monarch visiting one of my butterfly weeds a few weeks ago. It flew away before I could memorialize it on my phone.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    That's so wonderful, AW. There are milkweeds around here, but I will have to find a butterfly weed...

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    I'd love a post about one if you find it!

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Thank you! The orange flowered plant you see in the photo above is a butterfly weed, a species of milkweed.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Butterfly weeds? I thought you were jokingly referring to milkweeds, which the monarchs love. Could you explain the difference in a poem?

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Margaret, the butterfly weed is a species of milkweed and its flowers are very attractive as the picture above can attest to. All species of milkweed belong to the genus Asclepias. The common milkweed is the one most people think of as milkweed.

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