Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Labor Day and the End of the Summer

                                                Labor Day/September
            Kayaking yesterday on a near by lake, I saw a man loosening the bolts on his dock to take it in for the season.  My son, visiting for the weekend, stayed up late Saturday night to watch Notre Dame football.  The leaves on the sugar maple are starting to turn.  This morning when I went outside, there was a chill in the air:  all signs that summer is over—at least in the northeast.
A lot of people make New Years’ resolutions, but how many of us still think of September as the real beginning of the year and a time for fresh starts? It also means the end of the summer.  Although summer isn’t officially over until the 21st, for all practical purposes Labor Day is when summer ends.  That could be the reason I greet September and the Fall with a certain amount of melancholy. I even start counting down the days in early August, anticipating summer’s end. 
I’m not sure of the reason although I’m sure it has to do with the fact that September for me still means the beginning of the school year in spite of having graduated from college over 40 years ago. Although I’m a lawyer and was in school for a number of years, I never liked the rigidness.  I’m not very good at following rules—at least when it comes to the ones made by other people.  Maybe that’s why I’m a writer.
But besides school starting, September also means that official “fun” is done with until next summer.  This is not to say that there is no fun to be had during the rest of the year, but it has always seemed, except for maybe Christmas, summer is the time when the fun is scheduled in, be it trips to the beach, picnics, outdoor concerts, hikes and best of all, anything involving water. 
Living all my life in the northeast, summer is the only time we can go boating, water skiing and swimming.  Once September comes, you’re pushing it.  This past weekend I wasn’t the only one who sniffed the air and said, “Dammit, it’s starting to feel like fall.”  This sentence, mind you, is always accompanied by a sorrowful shake of the head.

There is, of course, the positive side to the arrival of Fall.  It’s a time of the fresh starts I mentioned earlier and the do-overs.  Just as in high school when I would harbor hope that the new school year would be different than the old with new teachers and new opportunities to succeed, there is still that optimism in the air every September.  Whether it’s something simple, like a resolution to go to yoga class more often—and I’m not the only one, September classes are almost as crowded as January’s—or to finally take a painting class, most of us view September as a kind of reboot or renew.  We are starting with a clean slate, with a chance to do what we’ve put off for months or even years.

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