Historically - it was a celebration of the strength and spirit of American commerce and trade. It was about parades and speeches and political rallies. About honoring the importance of the worker as an individual and the worker's movement as a collective whole. A statutory holiday. An official day off work.
Today - it is known as little more or anything other than the day that marks that very last one of summer. The end of long days and delicious heat and bare feet and ice cream that melts and drips over its cone. The end of raspberries that grow wild in their bushes and cold mountain lakes and salt toes and sandy beaches. The end of freedom. The end of summer sun and fun.
The last day.
And yet - with every ending..comes a beginning...a fresh start..something new. As a child - it was about a new school year. Sharpened pencils and a special box to carry them. Notebooks that were fresh and clean and had nothing - yet - written. New school bags and lunch boxes. New classes. New activities. New friends.
Everywhere I look in this college town - ther is a car or a van filled to overfilling. Students moving in. The more seasoned upper-classmen happy to be back in lives of their own. The freshmen - looking dazed..a little lost..a lot confused. Wide-eyed and filled with anxious anticipation and wonderment. For them - an adventure and whole new life about to unfold and begin..
There was one year - when I nursed a new baby. Another - only one year after that - when I anxiously awaited for the next to arrive. I was a new mom. And - with that new role - came another new rhythm and rhyme. It was no longer about me and my new beginnings..but about theirs. My life was marked by summer's start..and summer's end. By their school-free-days..and by those that were tied up in their obligatory schedules and routines.
Then - of course - those years were followed by those marked by dropping them of at their college rooms. After long summers of grown-up kids and their comings and goings..it came as a welcome relief. Bedrooms were left silent and empty..waiting for their occupants' return. And they did return. Again and again and again after that. An order. A predictability. A hush.
But this year's Labor Day - for me - is somehow coming and going without hardly a mark or a measure. No changes in anyone's routines. One season is following another..without anyone paying any particular heed or notice. I've grown accustomed to the quiet. I've come to depend and expect a certain predictability and order. I've learned to enjoy the samenes in the every day.
And - I suppose - when I actually do stop and think about it..that that in itself is something new. For me. It's a beginning. It's the start of a whole new chapter in my life. I somehow take comfort in knowing that with this 'Labor Day'..and with all of its significant comings-to-an-end..that there is still something in it that reminds me that life continues to be a never ending ongoing process of beginning anew.
When one season ends..another begins. And yes - it's the same ol'..same ol' day after day. But - today - I see it through a whole new lens.