05 September 2009

3 Thoughts on and a quote for Labor Day Weekend

My overalls: well worn and well loved. Photo by Quincy Benton

Happy Labor Day weekend!

You work that you may keep pace with the earth
and the soul of the earth.
For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons,
and to step out of life’s procession that marches in majesty
and proud submission towards the infinite.”

Kahlil Gibran

Everybody I know bemoans how fast the summer went. Perhaps because the weather seemed something other than summery. Here in Denver, I won't complain because we had plenty of rain: a benediction in these dry days that seem part of climate change.

Labor Day Weekend Thought #1: Just jumped into my well worn and well loved overalls and heading out to work in my garden--one of my favorite forms of labor. Writing seems in many ways the opposite of gardening in that my day job requires stretches of sitting still. Writing is mostly intellectual labor as opposed to physical--other than the fingers typing on the keyboard, it's a mental implosion. That doesn't make writing any less tiring, really, just a different sort of fatigue in the head more than in the body; tho' sitting too long hunched over a laptop can make my shoulders as sore as digging dirt does. Gardening, on the other hand, requires physical work, actions of the body to chop plants, carry water. And pull weeds and turn compost and on and on--activities suited for bib overalls. Of course, the intellect must come into play in the garden, too.

Labor Day Weekend Thought #2: Walked into Cherry Creek North last night for a bite of bbq at Q, where there's an open-air bar with a view to a stage offering live music--blues and jazz--seven nights a week. Under the full moon last night, the scene was particularly romantic. Since I was in grade school and infatuated with boys in bands--the Beatles, especially--it occurred to me that when musicians labor, we term it "playing." When musicians go to work, it's play. A guitarist's job is to "play" the guitar; we don't typically say a guitarist "works" the guitar. A pianist plays the piano. A drummer plays the drums. Interesting distinction! What do you play--if not an instrument?

Labor Day Weekend Thought #3: I don't normally read Gourmet magazine, but while staying at the Ritz-Carleton in Washington, D.C. last spring, I picked up a copy on my nightstand. Inside, in a department titled "Politics of the Plate," I read an appalling account of what amounts to slave labor right here in this country, in Florida. The situation involves farmer workers picking tomatoes. I finally figured out a way to help process this information that has stuck in my craw since reading the article. I posted entries on my Denver Flower and Garden Examiner page yesterday and today to help raise awareness about the plight of these people and why we should beware of tomatoes from Florida.

You think your job sucks?

Please click here to educate yourself about this woeful situation these farm workers face and what you can do to help. You'll find two posts--one introducing the issue and the second including an excerpt from the Gourmet story and more information. In short, vote with your pocketbook and make efforts to eat seasonally and locally.

Work hard. Play hard.
Enjoy the long weekend!


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