End of Summer Blues

 

September 12, 2018 | View PDF



The thought of approaching winter leaves me cold – no pun intended. Labor Day, in my opinion, denotes the most depressing holiday of the year because of the many events it signifies have come to an end. Hot languid days have come and gone for another year, summer has packed her bags with the intention of departing while winter lurks gleefully just around the corner. We have beautiful autumn to enjoy before winter truly arrives, but the season between summer and winter can prove finicky as well. To make matters worse, we never know what to expect with the arrival of old man winter. We may see a cold, harsh few months, or a season that brings somewhat milder temperatures but a boatload of snow, or a combination of everything we have come to expect from the short dark days of wintertime. In short, all those nasty weather features I do not look forward to with any sense of cheerfulness will show up long before I have mentally prepared myself for their arrival.

I adore summer and just about everything that comes with it, with the exception of ticks and mosquitoes. The long warm days, the feel of sunshine on my shoulders, chirping birds that awaken me at five in the morning, the freedom provided by shorts and t-shirts, mucking in the garden and enjoying the delicious produce it provides, delighting in the warm breeze that tickles my face, tramping around outside in bare feet, sitting on my deck with a good book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other – the list of summer goodness continues on indefinitely.


I can’t say the same for winter. I like the cold season to a certain extent; it just continues far too long for my taste. The first snowfall thrills me, the exclamations of pleasure I utter at the first sight of those silent white flakes falling from the sky turn to words of irritation by the third or fourth snow of the year. I have trouble with long dark nights and very short days with little daylight, I detest excessive cold and piles of snow, ice proves very treacherous, I hate pulling on clunky boots whenever I need to venture outside, plus I abhor dealing with less than pristine roadways and snow-packed streets. The list could continue but I see no value in depressing myself any further than I already have just by making this list.

To me, the Labor Day weekend signifies the end of everything I treasure: the last of the garden, the approaching end of biking, no more soothing, warm sun on my cheeks, and of course the loss of daylight along with the impending frost and cold. I think the loss of daylight hits me the hardest, as I have a lot of trouble dealing with no sunshine and overcast days. Way back when the world was young and I still attended school, Labor Day also meant the loss of freedom with the return to the classroom. We kids hated the thought of Labor Day as it meant back to school, homework, and a daily grind. We faced that holiday with bittersweet emotions.


Sure, today when I have retired from working at a year-round job, Labor Day no longer means much as far as a paid day off and a long weekend goes, but it still epitomizes the loss of wonderful, magnificent, cherished summer days. Nothing beats summer in my estimation.

Labor Day had its origins in 1882 when on September 5, labor unions staged the first ever Labor Day parade in New York City. Organizers chose the first Monday in September for the occasion as this date falls halfway between July 4 and Thanksgiving. After a series of labor riots in 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a declaration into law proclaiming the first Monday in September as Labor Day, to honor the working men and women of this country. With a stroke of a pen, he formally set a date that has depressed school-aged children for decades and discourages most of the rest of us by reminding us in no uncertain terms that summer has passed by in a whirl and long, slow-moving dark cold winter skulks just around the corner, ready to pounce with all claws bared and ready for action.


Yes, we get together as families for Labor Day barbecues, most of us get the day off, and enjoy the company of family and friends. However, I get together with family and friends all year long, and we barbecue as late into the year as possible and fire up the barbecue again as soon as weather permits in the early spring. Last year my barbecue disappeared under a snow drift by the first of December and didn’t emerge from underneath the white crap until March. Hopefully this year won’t give us as much snow, but even if it doesn’t, the passing of Labor Day reminds me in no uncertain terms that I face long, dark days in the months to come.

At least I have my husband’s October Halloween birthday to celebrate, two November special days, and Christmas holiday to look forward to, but I would give up all of these special days in an instant for an extra month of summertime and all the pleasures summer season has to offer.

 

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