The Right Words: A Labor of Love

Some people are despondent when it comes to Labor Day. As another summer winds down, the traditional cook-outs, ballgames, and even bonfires on the beach are tinged with melancholy. Of course, Labor Day weekend doesn't really mark the end of summer: before the end of September, there will likely still be a few more days of warm weather and several opportunities to swim, repose with a tan, and fiddle with the garden. Still, the implicit meaning of the holiday can affect the moods of those who view summertime as a fleeting sojourn from the rest of the year.

But why focus on the negative - you'll have all winter for that. Instead, make the most of your Labor Day, and enjoy all that this unique holiday has to offer! This three-day weekend is the perfect opportunity to take a break from the usual travails, a chance to do the things that you truly love and to bask in the warmth with friends and family - catch one last tan! Jump through the sprinklers, take a walk with that special-someone, grill the best darn hotdogs you've ever made, and, most importantly, savor that bittersweet nostalgia that comes at the end of something great. Sure, it's back to moiling on Tuesday, but for now, take advantage of the lovely respite offered by one last summer weekend.

The end of the season can bring about some complex emotions, it's true: the mood of the weekend is typically a rich mix of nostalgia, bittersweet acceptance, and the pure joy of one last summer holiday. To help you capture the feel of Labor Day, we've got a list of words that perfectly describe the spirit of the day off - as well as all the hard work you do during the rest of the year!

  • Fiddle: You're probably most familiar with fiddle as a bluegrass alternative to the violin, but thanks to multiple other meanings, this is one word that works as hard as you do! As a verb, to fiddle can mean to make small changes or improvements, to fidget nervously, or to simply waste time. The word can also be used sinisterly to imply tampering. And, of course, a well-placed fiddle can start a square-dance in no time!
  • Moil: Think about the crazy tumult of light and sound at the end of a fireworks display: that, friend, is one example of what it means to moil. But besides churning, disorderly tumult, moil can also describe the assiduous, dedicated work you put in on the days you're not on vacation. You moil all year-round - enjoy your vacations when you can!
  • Travail: Ever feel like you've sold your soul to the place you work? Then you probably know what it's like to travail, to engage in taxing, spirit-lowering labor. This word is often found in conjunction with physical tasks like farming or chopping wood, but it can also be used in a number of more figurative senses. Really, you travail when you deal with any stressful situation, such as spending an afternoon blowing up beach balls and water-wings for your Labor Day pool party. A draining travail indeed!
  • Repose: After a long day of work, how do you repose? This word, which can be used both as a verb and a noun, describes the relaxation and recovery you indulge in after a bout of strenuous mental or physical activity - basically, your down-time. The word can also apply to someone who's physically lying down - a wonderful act of repose itself!
  • Respite: Similar to repose, respite can be used as either a verb or a noun to refer to a brief break in the middle of activity. A good respite is always welcome, a suspension of something difficult or unpleasant that allows you to rest, get your mind on something else, and fortify yourself for the remaining tasks ahead. The word can also describe a postponement of something, meaning you could call Labor Day a respite before the grind of the colder months.
  • Sojourn: One great way to take advantage of Labor Day is to enjoy a sojourn, a delightful word that describes a short trip during which you stay somewhere as a guest. Perhaps there's a quaint little bed and breakfast you and your spouse have in mind, or maybe you'd rather spend a night or two in a tent under the stars. Either way, here's hoping your sojourn gives you a few fun stories to tell and the chance to use a few words from our Lexicon while you're at it!