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A new Labor Day

Labor Day, perhaps, has always been one of our most uplifting holidays.  Although the weather is still hot, anticipation elevates our mood and feelings.  Last Monday, I celebrated vicariously the things I have done, and like to do, as I reflected on the past.

Normally, the kids, by Labor Day, are back in school, football has begun and the calendar reminds us that favorable temperatures lie ahead and that October, the greatest month of the year, is coming up.

Although you can start now if you like, officially you can sing “Harvest Moon” on October 1.   Ah, such a good time tune, that accentuates the positive, and eliminates all negatives.

Labor Day is for that first dove shoot of the fall.  You can get out your waders and stand on your back patio and virtual cast to the outer reaches of your yard; let your mind’s eye bring a smile as you see your fly land on the rushing waters of the Chattahoochee and wait for that first gulp of a rainbow.

On Labor Day, I was up before daybreak.   Sleeping late is not compatible with my system anymore.  A nap after lunch is, however.  In those early morning hours, the first priority is to engage the coffee machine.

You flip off the back light.  Then you look out the window and see movement in the shadows.   Four does and three fawns are sampling the landscape.   Open the back door and they don’t bolt.   The sound does bring about scrutinizing pause, however.  They seem to know where they are and what the liabilities are by co-existing in a peaceful neighborhood.  They seem to know that there are laws that enhance their longevity.  It is against the law to shoot a rife in Clarke County, the smallest in the state.

I sit in solitude on the brick wall of the patio, watching the movements of the deer, wondering which one of us will be the first to move on.  I will stay as long as they are complacent.   This is a scene, which I have experienced before, but can’t get enough of.  When there are deer in my yard, I often talk to them and try to be as friendly as I can.   Someday, I hope to get a response.

The closest I have ever gotten to one of them is ten yards.  One step past a first down and they scatter as if I had a Beanfield Sniper Remington Sendero SF II in my hands.

As the gloaming slowly advances toward daylight, they keep stealing glances my way whenever they catch my right arm lifting my coffee cup, Without any spooking, they suddenly in unison dart into my neighbor’s yard and disappear.

At this point, first light allows for a retrieving of the newspapers, anxious to enjoy my favorite ritual—reading the paper with coffee in my grasp before the world wakes up.  I pray that that exercise will never see its demise as cynics suggest.

Soon it is time to take a morning walk in which others with the same bent wave and speak.  Friendly people always illuminate life.  Some remain stone-faced.   Some stroll, some jog.  Some wear masks and some don’t, a reminder that we all dance to a different beat.

If there is any place where social distancing is naturally inherent, it is our neighborhood streets, but I feel kindly to those who believe extra precaution is in order.

On Oakland Ave., one resident cranks up his lawnmower.  A fire engine, its siren blaring, rumbles to where somebody or something needs rescuing or dousing that only firemen can rescue or douse.  A helicopter beats the clouds overhead, but thankfully that cacophonous symphony soon dissipates and allows the solitude of the morning to return.

This is the time of the year when loose limbs line the edge of our streets.  They are piled neatly from propitious pruning and await pickup from the county.  I don’t suppose anybody is bothered that I drag a few of those limbs to my yard.  A limb a day, trimmed firewood size, soon multiples on my side porch.

They make such good kindling wood for the fireplace when October finally arrives.    One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, you know.