The Season of Rest (The Nature of Work – Part 1)

Snow DayWe’ve had a really lovely snow day in today, thanks to this winter storm Q. I worked leisurely from home and enjoyed some quality time with Mike (along with his delicious bacon and egg sandwiches on homemade biscuits!). The day has me thinking again about the nature of work and the pace of our modern, American lives, and since I’ve been meaning to post some entries on this topic, I figured I might as well start today.

One of the things that I’ve frequently heard and myself described to be a perk of living in Southern California is the weather; the weather is nearly perfect all the time. Really. Except during “June Gloom,” it’s sunny and dry. Sure, there are a few hot days, but plenty of people get by without air conditioning. In the other extreme, I never wore any of my winter sweaters or heavy coat during the two winters we lived in Pasadena.

As someone who tends to be cold-natured, I would insist that this climate is the picture of comfort. And yet, as someone who also grew up in climates with four seasons, I found that I missed the rhythms of the changes. One of my friends in college was from Maine, and once I expressed my sympathies that he’d experienced so many harsh winters. He explained that it was a blessing in disguise because the winters slowed down the pace of life; the snow and cold made people stay in and take a break.

In contrast, one of my friends in Southern California described the warmer winters as one of the reasons that people there never really take a break; life in the city just continues at the same, break-neck pace with nothing to slow the flurry. Mike and I certainly felt the strain of an atmosphere that never takes a breath, never lingers to share in creation’s sabbaths.

Certainly, I would say the frenzy is more a product of technology and industrialization than it is the weather, and I will turn to that in an upcoming post. But the weather can bring a halt to our lives despite our technology and industry. The changes in season seem to slow us down, to make us take pause and contemplate as the days get colder and darker. As the living things around us burrow and sleep, they offer us a cue to rest. In the midst of our own exhausting work of building a house, I’m thankful that snow days like today force us to follow suit.

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