Tedious Work

Photo on 6-17-14 at 10.29 AM

Dear Friends,

It is very early Sunday morning here in Queens. The skies are overcast and I have
just heard the faint peel of the bells of a church in the distance. The birds are
quiet this morning and the volume of traffic is much lower than on weekdays. These
two conditions make it hard to resist the temptation to stay in bed a little longer. I
motivate movement by pretending to smell the coffee brewing but I know that making
that a reality means I actually have to get out of bed! I am grateful as I take my first
step towards the kitchen and begin my day. Go out and enjoy the gifts of Nature today.

The end of August is here. Labor Day in the U.S. is right around the corner. Although
the roots of this holiday can be traced to the Labor Movement and the idea that labor
should be limited to working 8 hours a day, most people today think of Labor Day as
the end of summer: time to close up the beach house, roll up the garden hose and
bury the swimsuit. The lazy, hazy days are over, school has begun and football
season is underway even though baseball season won’t be over for another month!
Although mostly forgotten, I think it is important to pay tribute to the working
men and women who keep the country humming, many carrying out jobs filled with


Earlier this week, I heard the steady, loud sounds of a truck outside the window.
After a long while, I looked and saw a government employee operating the machinery
for sewer catch basin maintenance to prevent the unhealthy and dangerous floating
debris that litter causes. I watched him perform this task for a few minutes,
and noticed he was wearing heavy personal protective equipment to keep himself free
from contaminants that pose a risk to his health. Eventually, the sewer was cleaned
to his satisfaction and he replaced the cover and went to his next assignment. I
welcomed the silence!

The municipal workers of our small town of Atenas can be observed every day cleaning
the street gutters with a simple broom and dustpan wearing their uniform and nothing
more than a hat and long sleeves to protect them from the sun! I don’t think I have
ever seen them wear gloves. This type of work is hardly what I think of as ideal.
It is hard, menial, dirty work but I don’t think I have ever greeted one of these men
without receiving a genuine smile and response in return. Pulling weeds is a job I
rarely engage in without thinking of them. Although Labor Day is celebrated in May
in Costa Rica, this Labor Day in NY will find me paying tribute to these workers.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

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