Saturday, September 3, 2016

Time markers

I didn't get a blog post written yesterday.  That happens once in a while.  I resort to a clipboard, scrap paper and a pencil then.  We have many pens of different sorts, even of different colors but I am trained in on a pencil for making notes.  As a guy who roams the planet and sometimes other places in his imagination, the first job of the pencil is to note what is up right now right here.  I am listening to Professor Hope Jahren read her book "Lab Girl" where she uses arresting poetic language to discuss trees, vines and other plants.  She has made me fully aware that the back lawn and prairie plants and trees are all at work while I jot notes.  There are so many plants right in view that I can't possibly really be aware of all they are doing.  So, it is always a sampling, a conglomeration of what I notice, what I remember and what I anticipate.

This is the beginning of the Labor Day weekend in the US.  The end of May includes the Memorial Day weekend with Memorial Day aimed at honoring the lives given by American armed forces in defense of the country and often expanded to honor other lives sacrificed in such activities as fire-fighting and policing.  The beginning of September includes Labor Day, aimed at honoring the workers who keep our society going.  We sometimes consider the two holidays, always placed on Mondays, to mark the fore and aft of the summer season.

When I think of the days of the week and their various personalities, I remember the book "Waiting for the Weekend" by Witold Rybczynski, an American architect and writer. If you are a fan of the tv show "Downton Abbey", you may remember the Duchess (played by Maggie Smith) is not always a fan of Americanisms and focuses on the American word "weekend" as an example of questionable language.  Rybczynski makes clear that much of the human population (but quite possibly less than half) went through a big change from agriculture-based living to industrial-commercial based living over the last 300 years or so.  The invention of "jobs", "employment" and the "work week" allowed the older 7-day rotation of the days of a "week" to be laid down on top of the week of days named for Nordic gods, the Hebrew Sabbath and Roman months.  

So, if you typically work Monday to Friday but have a holiday on Monday, give a thought to all the days before and after the invention of our calendars and markers.  They enable us to remember and celebrate and appreciate events in the continuous flow of our lives.

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