Note from the Editorial Director: Mark season changes with a splash

CDI Strategies - Volume 15, Issue 36

by Melissa Varnavas

My family and I spent this past Labor Day weekend kayaking the Ipswich River. Our goal was to make it to Perkins Island where the kids were going to enjoy a summer fling—jumping from an aged rope swing. Only, when we got there—in record time—the top half of the tree was missing. The bottom half of the tree was submerged.

This is a story about perspective. But it’s not a clear, analogy-type of story. We saw the weekend stretch out before us as the symbol its intended to be—an unofficial end to summer, a long holiday to celebrate our work and relax. We looked out on the weekend as a way to wade in the waters and float into new memories, saturate ourselves with summer even as the evenings begin to chill.

The other side of our minds, however, knew about Ida and the devastation it wrought in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. We’d heard about flooding in New Jersey and New York. We knew about the EF-3 tornado that hit just outside of Philadelphia. We even remembered Henri’s winds and rains from two weekends before.

ACDIS, is a community and our hearts go out to those affected by the recent storms. If you were affected and need assistance, please reach out and let us know.

Well, my family and I remembered  how those storms brought all that rain to our part of the country as soon as we brought our boats to what used to be the beach/launch and saw the fast-running stream .We remembered as we ducked beneath the bridge (the river was that high), remembered when our typical hour-long trip took half the time, remembered when we rounded the corner and saw the treetop of our rope swing gone.

We landed, pulled our kayaks in. My nephew, Quinn, the 18-year-old, took off his shirt and waded in where the beach used to be. He climbed what was left of the tree, stood on the top rung left, and launched himself up and out into the middle of the racing river with a splash.

Afterwards we rowed back, against the current this time, each stroke was intentional and continuous and our trip a tad more arduous.

So, perspective. Most of me wants to emphasize the carpe diem attitude, the determination my nephew exhibited, while at the same time acknowledging the hard work, often against the current, that such an attitude requires.. Yeah, the river was swift, but we were on a mission—there were trees that needing climbing and last, Labor Day jumping for joy moments to be had.

I want to encourage you all to face the fall as a fresh step into a renewed outlook on the work you do every day. Celebrate Labor Day for what it was meant to be—a rest from labor and respectful appreciation of that work, as well as a turning point in our annual calendar. There is the summer and the joys that live in the long sun-filled months and there is the coming autumn with its color and its chill but also its piles of leaves, trees filled with ripe fruit, kitchens filled with the smells of baking pies.

As we leave Labor Day behind and head into CDI Week next week, let’s get cooking! Or as my nephew, Quinn might do, just jump in.

Editor’s Note: Varnavas is the Editorial Director for ACDIS and works closely with our volunteer event planning committee and ACDIS staff on a wide-range of educational and networking events. Contact her at