In America, Labor Day serves as the national observance of the autumnal equinox. Summer's End. I guess it's the closest our culture can get to acknowledging our astronomical and agronomic roots.
In Judaism, our equinox observance is Sukkot, still a few weeks off. For those of us who live in the Inner Farallones, that seems more appropriate. We construct our sukkah so that we can see the stars through the roof. By the first moon of autumn, we've usually shaken off the fog, so this might actually be possible for us.
My father, of blessed memory, understood the change of the seasons better than most. All his life, he yearned to be closer to the Earth. He probably would never have said that, but I know that it's true. His garden, with all of its splendors, lingers in my memory to this day.
He had a little ritual of his own. Scotch in the winter, gin and tonic in the summer. Memorial Day and Labor Day were the moments of transition.
Now me, I've never liked gin. Scotch, on the other hand, has been a favorite for years. I introduced my Dad to single malt when I discovered it. Like fine tea to my Mom. We do make a bit of progress, one generation to the next.
Every year on Labor Day, I raise a glass of malt to my father's memory. This time, I'm enjoying a 15 year old Springbank. I can't remember whether I ever shared this particular Scottish jewel with my father, but I know he would have loved it.
To you, Abba.