My life is totally different from that of my ancestors, whoever they were and wherever they lived, hundreds and thousands of years ago. Although there are still people whose lives revolve around the sun, moon, stars and the seasons - farmers mainly - most people's lives, including mine, revolve around a different set of events.
For the past few years hub and I spent the Labor Day holiday weekend out of town, usually visiting our son in Vermont. We have not been home for the three day end of summer hoopla and holiday ritual in years.
No one was sure what this weekend was going to bring to our shore town in terms of vacationers because of Hurricane Irene's visit a week earlier. But the weekend was super in terms of weather, tourists, and just plain fun.
Labor Day weekend marks the official end of the summer season at the shore and a lot of other places around the country. Kids not yet in school march into the classroom this week. Summer jobs at restaurants, amusement parks and other venues end for most employees. Establishments staying open reduce their staff as a new crowd, not nearly as numerous, arrives. Couples old and young, without kids in tow, mark the beginning of the fall season for many resorts.
The shore slowly winds down as businesses reduce the days of the week and hours open. Some close until next year. Full-time residents lament that the worst part of wintering here is that all the ice cream shops are closed.
Today, the first day after Labor Day - the end of summer living and beginning of fall as a life style - is a dreary and rainy day. For the first time in months I am wearing jeans. The days get dark earlier and it's cooler at night. A positive occurrence is that many flowers, barely surviving the summer heat, are flourishing once again.
Many faces are gone and ones not seen for a while reappear as summer residents leave and snowbirds and permanent residents attempt to regain the daily rhythms of their life. Summer days of bicycle rides, barbecues, family and friend visits, evening ice cream jaunts and lazy days on the beach give way to a yearning for a regular schedule. No more holiday weekends for a while.
Days wind down, the cold and darkness begin to prevail, but we are not yet ready for winter. We re-energize and ramp up again as preparations begin in earnest for the holiday period beginning with Thanksgiving and ending on New Year's Day. Then, at least in the Northern parts of the east coast, a type of human hibernation period begins.
The first couple of weeks in January are almost eerie. Stores and restaurants empty and there is less traffic everywhere. A period of nesting and couch potato-ing sets in. We catch our breath and examine our checkbooks as the holidays sapped our time, energy and monetary resources. Snowbirds have long gone, the worst winter weather arrives and cooking and eating comfort food become favorite pastimes.
The slow genesis of spring and the reappearance of humans usually coincide with the Easter holidays. Snowbirds begin returning and summer residents briefly reappear to ready their homes and apartments, find rentals and plan their summer. Local residents begin sprucing up their homes and businesses as the weather turns more agreeable. Landscapers and contractors emerge and the humming of outdoor equipment rudely interrupts peaceful days.
Sunny weekends bring out eager folk tired of remaining indoors for so long. The solitary beach stroller weeks earlier finds numerous others enjoying the beach, often accompanied by dogs, creatures not allowed on the beach during the summer months but who believe they own the beach the rest of the year.
The pace of life increases as summer plans are made and preparations begin. The first of the seasonal long weekends, Memorial Day, ushers in three months of non-stop summer events. We often do not come up for air until the day after Labor Day…and that brings us to today.
Another year ends in accordance with the rhythms of our modern life and one more year begins.