Look­ing On­ward From La­bor Day

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - OPINION - David Wil­son Learn­ing Ev­ery Day

With La­bor Day be­hind us, we will soon launch into the fall sea­son.

Au­thor Wil­liam Zinsser wrote that La­bor Day was pro­posed in 1882 by Peter McGuire, the gen­eral sec­re­tary of the United Brother­hood of Car­pen­ters and Join­ers of Amer­ica.

He sug­gested that the first Mon­day in Septem­ber be set aside to cel­e­brate Amer­ica’s work­ing spirit.

The first Mon­day was se­lected be­cause it was about half­way be­tween the 4th of July and Thanks­giv­ing.

From a so­cial per­spec­tive, La­bor Day is the end of sum­mer. By then schools have started and fam­ily va­ca­tions are gen­er­ally over.

Zinsser de­scribed it as a time in which Amer­i­cans are “squeez­ing the last ounce of plea­sure out of sum­mer’s fi­nal gift of un­ex­am­ined time.”

He went on to write, “Of­fi­cially, sum­mer won’t end for an­other three weeks. But in our bones we know that the jig is up.”

Is that how you feel right about now?

La­bor Day comes at a good time—still a part of sum­mer fes­tiv­i­ties—but also serv­ing as a tran­si­tion to a dif­fer­ent time of year.

For those of us who like the wa­ter, it’s still nice enough to take a swim.

For those of us who can’t wait for fall to of­fi­cially be­gin, the evenings are—most of the time—pleas­ant enough to sit out­side.

Au­tumn is widely wel­comed, es­pe­cially dur­ing those years in which Au­gust has mer­ci­lessly brought on day after day of heat and hu­mid­ity, caus­ing prayers for de­liv­er­ance from the sauna.

That hasn’t ex­actly been the case this year, with late Au­gust bring­ing an un­usual break from the heat.

There are some who love sum­mer so much that they never want it to end, in­stead wish­ing for an unend­ing stream of warm nights, cook­outs, fun in the wa­ter, day­light un­til 9 p.m., fam­ily trips, sun glasses, and sun­tan oil.

But even the most de­voted sun-wor­ship­pers among us must some­times ad­mit that there are years in which we give in, con­ced­ing to sum­mer that we’ve had enough.

In those in­stances fall is wel­comed and em­braced even more heartily than nor­mal.

And with its ar­rival comes the usual re­fresh­ing feel­ing, a sense of re­lief that we have sur­vived a test from na­ture it­self.

As for me, I en­joy both sum­mer and fall tremen­dously. And this year, for some rea­son, I find my­self wish­ing that sum­mer could go on.

And just like those who some­times com­plain that they have too much month at the end of their money, there can be too many ac­tiv­i­ties yet to be en­joyed at the end of sum­mer.

Why can’t sum­mer con­tinue?

It doesn’t bother me to sweat dur­ing nor­mal out­door ac­tiv­ity dur­ing the sum­mer months. In fact, I wel­come that.

It’s ac­tu­ally good for a per­son’s health. (I’m not talk­ing about try­ing to bring on a heat stroke, but in­stead just tak­ing the body through the nor­mal func­tions for which it was de­signed).

I’ve read that Alexan­der the Great had his troops ex­er­cise ev­ery day at least to the point that they be­gan to per­spire, and as a re­sult, they were very well-con­di­tioned.

The an­cient civ­i­liza­tions knew the value of ex­er­cise.

For those of us who pre­fer to ex­er­cise out­side, sum­mer is a per­fect ar­range­ment.

But fall is com­ing, ready or not. And I’m not com­plain­ing.

A day that be­gins at about 56 de­grees and climbs up to about 77 in the af­ter­noon is cer­tainly not the end of the world.

On the other hand, a win­ter day that be­gins at 12 de­grees and warms up to a balmy 25 is an­other mat­ter al­to­gether.

So given that per­spec­tive, I’ll al­ways em­brace fall weather and en­joy ev­ery minute of it.

I hope you can as well.

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