I visited the bees yesterday. It’s an interesting phenomenon, how thousands of buzzing little stingers can be so mesmerizing. Each time I’m in an apiary, I liken the humming of hives to the relaxing lulls of ocean waves or kitten purrs. The bees barely notice any spectators, and there’s no time allotted for breaks as they busy themselves with the task of gathering nectar and making honey.
Monday marks the 125th celebration of Labor Day as a national holiday, now noted as the unofficial end to summer and a major discounted shopping day. I’m squeezing in pool time and even considering one of those great deals on a new mattress, but were shopping sprees and the end of bikini-conscious eating the intention of Labor Day founders?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day was initially intended to celebrate the achievements and contributions the workforce has made to our country’s strength and prosperity. In the late 1800s, the U.S. economy was stretching past the Industrial Revolution and cornfields. Business owners needed workers (those with money to spend) to purchase products, services, and experiences, and unions were busy fighting for fewer hours. Labor Day was a political victory: with more time off, laborers could take their families on a trip to the beach or buy the newly invented ice-making machine.
Not everyone is off on Monday. As a nurse, I used to look longingly at the prospect of Labor Day. Instead, long weekends all but guarantee an emergency department full of fish-hook injuries, barbecue blunders, trampoline-induced tendon tears, and discount-firework disasters, but it isn’t just medical professionals who will be on the clock.
On Monday, I expect my radio will keep pumping out tunes or play-by-play of a professional baseball game. My boys have been begging to set up a lemonade stand, so we may make that happen if our ice-machine manages to rattle out a few cubes. And if the weather is decent, the bees will be buzzing. They’ve received notice: summer doesn’t last forever.
Neena Gaynor is a Kentucky wife, mother, daughter and beekeeper who does life in Owensboro. She also writes on her blog at www.wordslikehoney.com. and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.