Labor Day is a holiday of contradictions. It celebrates work, and yet it is a day of rest. It comes at the end of the vacation season when the weather is usually hot and summery, and yet it marks a return to the daily grind and school. In rural, northern regions, labor day comes at the end of the vegetable harvest and points to the coming of harsh weather. These days, we rarely think about the politics behind this holiday. I don’t, but I do think about the different types of labor – the work we do to bring in paychecks to support ourselves, the hard work it takes to maintain even a small garden and home, the never-ending drudgery of necessary daily chores, and the most complex of all, the labors of love.
When you have animals, you can’t take an entire day off. Perhaps you can slow down a bit, put the animals out to pasture, top off their water buckets, and go on a picnic. But your time away is limited. Unlike the two in this photo, my animals aren’t necessities. If I didn’t have the chickens and goats, I’d still have food on my table. So, I have the choice to work as I do. It’s a choice that I feel privileged to be able to make.