Not for the first time, I find myself on this Labor Day weekend hard at work. I’m in the final stages of building a new manuscript that will, I hope, be submitted to a publisher in the next few weeks. It isn’t ready yet, because there are still some passages that need re-writing, some that need editing, a few places where new words are needed, and so I labor even as the calendar tells me it is a holiday from such efforts.
Of course, I’ve almost always (as an adult) labored on Labor Day. Just as I have on most days of most weeks of most years. It is what I know how to do. Sometimes it is for someone else, but almost always, when I look at it closely, it is for me. I enjoy work. I like results. It feels good to accomplish something, especially if it is done with my own hands or my own inner resources. The tools of my trade are mixed: thinking, analyzing, ordering of thoughts, observing, but also physical skills such as writing or typing and reading.
When I’m not engaged in the writing part of my life, I am often working on something three-dimensional: repairing something broken, modifying something to extend its utility, preparing for needs I know will arise. Cutting firewood is one of those, and at this time of year the urgency of that work begins to accelerate. I have four large trees recently brought down that need to be made into logs that will then be split and stacked and eventually, burned.
The other day I spent several hours restoring the surface of our main driveway that was disturbed by a couple of inches of rain. And I have equipment that needs to be readied for winter or just maintained for occasional use.
All of these jobs are things I know how to do, and enjoy doing. The enjoyment may diminish when I have to do them just to keep going, rather than dong them when it is convenient, but in the long run I enjoy the successful conclusion of any and all tasks that fall under the rubric of "work." It is the way I’m made. It is the way America was made.
Celebrate Labor every day.