It is Labor Day, 2023. Although 1894 was the year the U. S. Congress declared the first Monday in September every year as a holiday to honor American workers, the first celebration happened in 1882 in New York. The holiday also dates back to the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886. According to an article in Wikipedia, a rally by labor organizers "began peacefully in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day, the day after the events at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, during which one person was killed and many workers injured. An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at the police as they acted to disperse the meeting, and the bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians; dozens of others were wounded." In other words, it was a significant and history-making event, after which "eight anarchists were convicted of conspiracy." Seven were sentenced to death. Blood was shed to improve working conditions in factories, and to create the eight hour work day, holidays, and weekends. That should never be forgotten. To read more, Wikipedia has an excellent article on the Haymarket Affair.
Today, the holiday is so beloved that huge numbers of people are on the highways and in the skies, taking advantage of the three day weekend. I doubt the workers involved in labor rallies at that time imagined such a thing, or foresaw sales on sofas and other stuff as part of the holiday. But the fight for decent treatment of workers prevails, as members of SAG, the Screen Actors Guild, and the Writers' Guild of America continue their strike action. Even though many think of these strikes as being frivolities, there are serious issues involved, including the use of artificial intelligence to replace actors' images and to write scripts. Copyrighting work is almost always an issue for artists. I am glad people are still fighting for their rights in the workplace, wherever that may be.
In addition, there is a huge amount of work in America being done by a relatively unrecognized group of people - volunteers. Quietly, but steadily and efficiently, these people perform labors of love every day in almost every area, including in schools, libraries, hospitals, animal shelters, food banks, gardens, within the national park system, and numerous non-profit and emergency aid organizations. Given last week's blog on Valles Caldera, I thought more information was called for about the volunteers or near-volunteers who have contributed to the restoration of the area and other wilderness and ranch locations damaged in years past by humans, other animals, and machines.
Renea Roberts - producer, editor, and director for R3 Productions - along with her team and contributors, are putting together a five-part documentary series on water restoration titled Thinking Like Water. It features renowned forester and water wizard Bill Zeedyk. Zeedyk is author of Let the Water Do the Work: Induced Meandering, an Evolving Method for Restoring Incised Channels. Anyone who has lived in the Southwest has seen channel cuts, also called head cuts. Many people see it as erosion, which it is, but it can be fixed. Zeedyk and numerous volunteers he has mentored over the years, have worked on restoring these cuts, including at Valles Caldera. Zeedyk's restoration strategies have been adopted by many government agencies, paid contractors, and private landowners, in addition to the all volunteer Albuquerque Wildlife Federation. The Thinking Like Water website is well worth exploring. https://thinkinglikewater.com/ along with the trailer for Thinking Like Water, front and center on the link. At just over twelve minutes long, it is a great introduction to Zeedyk and volunteer restoration work in the Southwest. You can learn more about and support the project, and spread the word about it. I raise a glass to all of you who volunteer!
East Fork of the Jemez River, a good case for meandering
It was exciting to see how many of you have visited Valles Caldera in years past and were just as enchanted by the place as I am, including Barbara F. R., Victoria, Donna and Dave, Catherine S., Claudia, Tim, Ingrid, Ann A., Lawrence, Jean and Sam, M. Fred B., Marilyn G., Terry T., and Steve. Thanks also to documentary filmmaker Cristina McCandless, who among others, is doing drone footage for the series and alerted me to it.
Since today (in addition to being Labor Day) is the first Monday of meteorological autumn, I hope all of you are ready with cameras in hand to take advantage of the special light that comes with the season.
until next Monday,
a passion for the image©