Monday, September 2, 2013

Real New Year's Day

Yesterday's retreat from the cottage was bittersweet. As we packed up our belongings and headed home as we always do, it was with the unspoken knowledge that we were embracing a new rhythm.

The thought was confirmed as I slid the car into the driveway and noticed that the roadside maple in my yard had jumped the gun and was already flaming. My lily's had long-since dropped their petals, their stems turned reedy. Not to mention, I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with, peppers begging to be pickled or turned into chili sauce and a bunch of rosemary so massive and fragrant that the squirrels have mistaken it for a tree and play ring around the rosy round it.

But the real ripening in my home is human. My son has outgrown his summer shoes and sleeps like a hibernating bear. He will rue the day each coming morning when I rouse him from bed for school, I suspect. My daughter flits around the house like a drunken butterfly her limbs threatening to overtake even mine in length. Whatever they may feel about returning to school, it causes me to wonder how they - not to mention me - got to be so old.
The feeling was echoed again perfectly as I read my morning newspaper: Labor Day, it proclaimed, has nothing to do with the rhythms of nature, nothing to do with the movement of the sun. It just happens that we pause every year about now and look around us and notice the way the small changes add up. It’s a reminder that we could do this almost any day of the year: declare a holiday, stand back, and consider the ebb and flow of the world we live in.

Labor Day, not New Year’s, is when the new year really commences.

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