This is not the first Labor Day where I've been keeping an eye on a storm. In fact, last year I'd be up early on Labor Day Monday, in Memphis where we had gone to celebrate my father-in-law's 80th birthday; I'd have been keeping a wary eye on Hurricane Irma.
This year, I sit in a house that's undergoing repair construction because of Hurricane Irma. I'm keeping my eye on the radar as Potential Tropical Cyclone 7 spins to my south. I am not nearly as worried this year as I was last year. I did take a look around the yard, just to make sure that we were in good shape, and I moved the drying swimsuits, towels, and table linens inside.
Each Labor Day, I am profoundly grateful that I am not in the Florida Keys in 1935, when the most intense hurricane to ever hit the U.S. came ashore. Every time I drive through the Keys, I'm grateful that I'm there when hurricanes are not--those islands are so tiny.
I know that most people don't mark Labor Day as a hurricane anniversary. I know that I should be raising a glass to those who fought so hard to make our working lives more tolerable. I will raise a glass to those organizers: I'm as fond of week-ends and OSHA regulations and 8-ish hour work days as the next person.
But I have some Marxist tendencies, and thus, I see that we still have much work to do. I see many people who are alienated from their work, just like Marx warned us. I know that in more and more industries people have less and less control of both their work and their schedules. I know so many people who work not because they believe in their work, but because they need health insurance that's partially or wholly underwritten by employers.
And almost everyone I know fears that a future that is much worse barrels towards us.
I think about Marx and all the areas of work he missed. These days, I feel alienated from my house, which requires an enormous amount of work. I fight against that feeling of alienation in the arena of human relationships.
I'm in an unusual phase right now: I'm deeply invested in my work for pay, but I feel a bit alienated from my creative work. When I carve out time, the writing seems to come at a plodding pace. I need a different camera. The bag that holds my sketching materials seems to grow ever heavier.
Maybe I need a retreat--I'm thinking of signing up for this online one about visual journaling. I say I'm thinking about it, but I bought the markers last night. I like the subject matter of the retreat, and I'd like to experience an online retreat. Plus, at a Create in Me retreat, I went to a workshop led by the artist that's leading the online retreat.
It's September, and the year has zoomed by. Yet we still have 1/3 of the year remaining--we can still do some of the things we hoped to do when we made our plans in January.