Today I mowed the lawn for probably the last time of the year, as I sense the late summer southern exposure is sending it dormant. And, I'm in the midst of some concrete repair on the front porch. That came after cutting down and raking up the tiger lilies. And it's just before I start pulling the first of the leaves out of the gutter. All of this is out in front of the winter storm coming on Tuesday, which will drop inches of snow in Denver amidst forecast highs in the low 30s just twenty-four hours after we hit our record-breaking 73rd day above 90 degrees. Yep, fall is coming in this weird year of 2020, and the "fall cleaning" is all part of the alternative off-track New Year's weekend celebration we all know as Labor Day. It's an idea I've sort kicked around and practiced for a few years now, and I've recently seen that feeling popping up in others' written works.
Labor Day weekend is a perfect New Year's Eve/Spring Cleaning sort of transition time, as we've long known it as the time for returning to school, last weekends at the pool, winding down of the free form activities of summer. Granted, we probably all feel a bit cheated this year, the summer that wasn't. But this can still be a time for reflection and preparation for what purports to be a long, dark, cold winter. It will definitely be one of hibernation, so it's time to sweep out the cave and clean out the closets in anticipation of long days inside. What shall we do with this moment and this transition? One other writer/blogger who has thoughts on this is Mike Vardy who has a great post describing "Why Labour Day has Become my New Year's Day." Vardy's piece made me smile because not only do we feel the same way about this weekend, but we also both used to view our New Year's day as actually February 2 in the spirit of the existential re-birth portrayed in the classic Bill Murray movie Groundhog's Day. The idea of re-invention in pursuit of finally getting it right is, in my view, the whole point of living. It's what Longfellow meant when he wrote "Neither joy and not sorrow is our destined end or way, but to act that each tomorrow find us further than today." Getting better is the goal, and we can make a resolution to change and grow that way any day of the year, an idea Vardy developed in his book The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You Want.
So, I'm still in pursuit of my goal to live deliberately and live artfully as I head into my fifties and began to carve out what Act III looks like for me. Still learning to play the piano, and I'm actually starting to feel a bit more comfortable. Some day I might actually be a piano player. I have an 80-day streak going on Duolingo with my French Lessons. Health and fitness are good. I actually have a nice piece of writing which will see national publication very soon. And as I continue to meditate every day, I am starting to believe that I may be just a bit less of a neurotic princess and, perhaps, even a kinder gentler Michael than I was last year.
So, as I said last year, "Happy Labor Day. Good luck in becoming who you are ..."