The cicadas peaked last week, and then they died in mass numbers. Their demise didn't make the headlines or Larry King. It's a subtle change like the summer solstice passing weeks ago, and ever since our world has been screaming, sliding, slipping, and singing away from summer, rushing headlong into fall.
Labor day for many is the symbolic end of summer, though we know that summer really ends the day that school starts, or the pool closes and not the official end on the 22nd or 23rd of September.
This weekend it's a last trip to the beach or a final day at the lake, school has started and the morning traffic has nearly doubled in volume. Yellow buses by the dozens have replaced the colorful summer camp buses and those with kayaks or white water rafts stacked precariously on their roofs, that travel the winding roads beneath the cool shadows of the North Carolina Mountains.
I Love holidays, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Memorial Day. I enjoy them all except Labor Day for I find no reason to celebrate the end of summer.
After the deadly Pullman strike and riots in 1894 President Grover Cleveland pushed legislation making Labor Day a national holiday, once a political holiday with speeches parades and labor rallies, it has now devolved into a lesser holiday. Labor Day is a painful reminder that life is fleeting, it is rushing by at an amazing pace. And Yes "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it." And, I fear summer I may have missed it.
Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons. Though the fans at Chapel Hill and Columbia won't get into full football mode until they can wear their Go Tar Heels and Go Cocks! sweaters and on a cool October afternoon stand and cheer the sacking of Clemson and NC State quarterbacks.
Labor Day marks the passage of time, more so than New Year's Eve for it is the death of summer and the start of the period of emptiness, where less humid afternoons are shortened by darkness that comes too soon to really enjoy.
The period of waiting, it will last until fall's first frosty morning arrives and with it a renewed sense of purpose. I await the first crisp breaths of fall until then, I mourn the loss of summer.
(With all due Homage to Ferris Bueller)