Seasons of Work: Celebrating the Cyclical Job

My bakery closes this weekend for four months, and I’m trying not to feel sad. 

It might have been easier to make the transition if I had been there for the final, post-Thanksgiving weekend, to sell holiday cookies and Stollen, to say “see you next spring!” to loyal customers, to share hugs with my colleagues and with Holly, a.k.a. World’s Nicest Boss. (“Can I make some eggs for anybody? Who wants goat cheese on their eggs? How about an avocado?”) But I was travelling this weekend, so I missed it. When I left home, we were open. When I return: just a dark, cold, empty kitchen behind a dark, cold, empty counter.

Oh, April...why are you so far from now?

Oh, April…why are you so far from now?

I think it’s great. I love seasonal work. Maybe it’s because I love seasons, having grown up on the east coast. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the bulk of my adult career in that most seasonal, cyclical of jobs: teaching.

Despite the tone of this post, I do not spend off-season pining for my giant rolling pin. No, here’s what off-season means to me:

–writing in my barn (in my sleeping bag, with a hat on, by my space heater)

–making lots of soup and roasted root veggies

–connecting with far-flung family and friends (whether Wing Sons One and Two coming home, or us taking our giant cross-country road trip to NC)

–grooving on how early the darkness falls, up where we live at Latitude 46-something

–grooving even more on when that darkness begins to creep incrementally backward, sometime in January

–Tarheel basketball!!!

–writing new songs, singing with friends (just singing–NOT rehearsing!)

–compensating for missing my giant rolling pin by wielding my own little one a gracious plenty for potlucks

–thinking about what the new season will bring when it arrives once more: flowers! Visitors! New recipes to bake! Another concert? More book promos? Bring it all on!

But for now…let’s just make popcorn and watch the game, shall we?

Do people in Hawaii miss having seasons? Do people with year-round work miss that sense of a fresh start? Is that need for a  “fresh start” feeling universal, or simply privileged? Do people find cycles in their job even without seasons? 

These are questions I wonder about. Do you have any answers for me? What do your “on” and “off” seasons mean to you?

8 thoughts on “Seasons of Work: Celebrating the Cyclical Job

  1. Early winter in Germany is all about Christmas, of course. Christmas markets, advent calendars, cookies etc.
    And in the past 10 or 12 years The supermarkets started selling lebkuchen after summer vacation, that is in early September … Not good as far as the German consumers are concerned…

    • I had heard that Germany was considering legislation to limiting the time period of Christmas marketing. Or maybe only one part of Germany? I’m all in favor, though it does seem like a tough law to enforce… Here in the US, it is far, far too late.

  2. I miss the seasonal jobs we worked, early in our marriage, when we worked in national parks. We’d make nice money during the season, and, when we were off, we’d travel, and eat out, and enjoy..

    We’ll be traveling to Oregon in late February; by plane, which makes two of us very nervous…but we’ll manage, and the chance to acquaint the kids with the other side of their heritage, and long-distance travel…worth it. =D

    Enjoy your more leisurely time of renewal! =D

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