Saturday, 7 September 2013

Labour Day

What is it about Labour Day Weekend that indicates that it is the end of summer?  

Last week we were melting in 30+degree weather.  It was hot and humid and altogether uncomfortable (which makes me then question what I'm on about now).  It was summer.

Monday was Labour Day.  The last day of the holidays.  It threatened rain all day and then there was a burst of sunshine long enough for us to enjoy a barbeque and a swim.  I'd say it was the last until next summer but we're Canadian - we'd barbeque in minus 20C.

I don't go to school.  This year I even worked through most of the summer.  So why is it that Labour Day weekend triggers the same awful feeling in the pit of my stomach that I'm sure hundreds of thousands of children feel around the world (well, where ever they have Labour Day as the last day of summer holidays)?

The children went back to school on Tuesday.  The air was crisp and the wind sent a chill through our clothes (which were foolishly a little lighter than was called for).  Where does summer go?  Does it smell the scent of school and decide to skedaddle?  And why does 15 degrees in September feel colder than the same in March?  

Autumn, Fall, whatever you want to call it, is a beautiful season.  And I love it.  But somehow, as the possibility of sun-filled days diminishes, it fills me with desperation.   I become obsessive about making the most of each sunny day, anxious to soak it all in, savour it and bask in its warmth and glory, desperately trying to hold on to it, willing it to not disappear.     

For those of us who live our lives around the school calendar (which is all of us at some point or another), it is this day - the first day of the school year - that holds far more significance than New Year's.  It is in many ways a milestone.  It is inevitable.  As is the end of summer.  A marking of the passage of time.

The first day of school (and the end of summer) is full of new beginnings - new teachers, new friends, new experiences.  To celebrate, the leaves begin to show off with beautiful hues of red and gold before revealing the branches for what they are.  

Even endings bring the beginning of something else.

A taste of what's to come -   this particular bush on our way to school,
 turns a beautiful fuschia before succumbing to winter

The theme over at Tara's Gallery this week is "Back to School".  Just as I've been inspired by other blogs to start writing, her blog inspires me to take more pictures.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery


  1. And tell me. What's Labor Day for? Whose labo(u)r? What labor?

    I get thanksgiving, but Labor Day has always flummoxed me.

    And yes, I could google it, but I'd rather ask you...

    1. And now I've re-read your post you have got the u in. Which has flummoxed me further - is that a Canadian thing? Do you spell colour correctly too?

    2. Labour Day in Canada is the first Monday in September. It marks the end of the summer holidays - school usually starts the next day. And until you asked the question I never really thought about it or why (except when I lived in Australia and their labour day is in October). It has something to do with the unions winning the fight for an eight hour work day. I have to admit I googled it... it's an interesting read.

      Regarding the spelling, traditionally Canadians spell things the same way as the British. (We only fully gained independence from Britain in 1982 and we're part of the Commonwealth). These days though, both spellings are accepted. I find though that people put the u in colour but we might spell programme without the extra "me" (program) or desensitise with a z not an s (desensitize). It's all very confusing...

      The worst is we generally all say "zed" for the last letter of the alphabet. But now, with children being so heavily influenced by American television they'll say "zee". And interestingly, televisions shows that are made in Canada tend to use "Americanisms" to be more "accessible" in the American market. So rather than a show being set in Toronto (though it clearly is), they'll try to make it more generic (some North American city). It's very weird because I don't see the Americans adjusting their language to be more accessible to us (though I suppose we don't have enough of a market for them to need us) :)

    3. zed zed zed zed zed. Zed is for Zebra. And Zoo.

      Feeling better now?

      Interestingly (to me at least) my kids role play in an American accent. Given that I suspect they'll grow up having one accent for school (Scottish Borders - there are as many different "Scottish" accents as there are, doubtless "Canadian" ones) and another for home (what you'd think of as a British (and I'd call received pronounciation) one), the fact that they have a third for playing at princesses amuses me somewhat! I blame Disney though.

    4. That is interesting. What I found interesting about your comment was that they'll switch their accent at home and school. Growing up abroad with immigrant parents, my brother and I were aware that we had 3 accents at any given time - Canadian, what' you've called received pronunciation (which is quite appropriate - an accent acquired from a British school in Middle East which would then have it's own idiosyncrasies)and what we (as children) referred to as "normal" - the accent of my East African parents :)