I’ve been wondering this week if the state should consider observing Labor Day on a different date than the rest of the country.

Arriving as it does in the depths of hurricane season, the present date for Labor Day doesn’t promise the best results for the Gulf Coast. When Labor Day arrived in 2005, we were still fresh with shock from Hurricane Katrina.

Hurricane Gustav arrived on Labor Day in 2008, and that wasn’t any holiday picnic, either.

This year’s Labor Day weekend brought Tropical Storm Lee, which left most of us in south Louisiana unscathed, although the storm sparked its share of anxiety and also produced painful flooding for quite a few


That’s enough to make residents of south Louisiana greet future Labor Days with trepidation.

Maybe our state lawmakers, who have wide experience in crafting unconventional legislation, could pass a bill stipulating that if a named storm appears in the Gulf of Mexico, Labor Day would be delayed a week.

Another idea would be to permanently move Louisiana’s Labor Day observances to the Monday before Mardi Gras, when a lot of south Louisiana residents take the day off, anyway.

Labor Day’s existing timing does have its purpose, providing a holiday that many celebrants regard as the official close of summer. But even if Labor Day were absent at this time of year, I’d still notice the fading of summer in other ways.

My summer tomato garden has played out, so I leveled it last week, mowing vines and weeds alike to an empty patch of earth. Other projects will keep me from planting a fall garden, so the spot will remain empty until February, when I plant potatoes to bridge the days until spring.

For now, the small, raised row will lie fallow — a small field of possibility that I’ll occasionally glance at throughout the fall as I daydream of future gardens. In this year as in others, some of my best gardening will be done in my head.

Lee kept me inside for most of last weekend, where I kept cabin fever at bay by finishing up “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” a funny-sad little novel that makes a great summer read.

Most of my great summer reading occurs in autumn and winter, when I finally get around to books I’d planned to read at the beach.

If we feel disappointed when summer ends, it’s probably because we try to pack too much into it.

The season’s highest pleasures — time with family, a good book, something great to eat — also can be enjoyed at other times. Or so I’ve been reminding myself on recent cool mornings, as I welcome the brisk weather like an army of liberation.

Advocate editorial writer Danny Heitman contributes “At Random” to the People section each Friday. He welcomes your comments and suggestions. Contact him at (225) 388-0295 or dheitman@theadvocate.com.