This Monday will be February 29 and a leap day, that extra day in the year we’re given every four years or so (though not always). My author friend Carmela Dutra invited me to join a blog hop on what we might do with these “bonus” 24 hours. She compiled a wonderful list for what she intended as her “me” day, but what seems interesting to me is how much of the day is really linked to the people she loves (most especially a little baby boy).
I am a little ambivalent about the “bonus” 24 hours. From the perspective of a salaried employee, of course, the bonus seems mostly to favor the employer. It is one more day you have to work for which you are not being paid extra, and this is all the more poignant since the 29th falls on a Monday. From the perspective of planetary motions and geological time, I suspect the leap day also is not given a significance more than any other day, any other rotation of the earth about its axis as it makes its path around the sun. But from a human perspective, I’d like to think that Carmela is correct and leap days are things worth remarking over.
In the least, the leap day is humbling. It’s a recognition that our conception of the world never really matches what the world really is, and so we need to make adjustments every now and again.
I was recently reading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time with my son. In it, there is a planet inhabited by creatures with no eyes. These “beasts” had trouble understanding what light and darkness was and why humans were so dependent on it. The beasts could sense what the world, the universe, really was (through feeling the warmth of the sun or hearing the music of the stars, for example) though they could not see it. They remarked how limiting it must be for creatures (like human beings) that rely so much on “sight” to see things only for what they appear to be rather than what they are.
A leap day might be a reminder to us that the world might not always be what it appears to us to be, and perhaps making a conscious effort to do something slightly different, something slightly out of the ordinary, might provide us that needed adjustment to the compass that is our soul.
Leap days and leap years come with their own legends, traditions and superstitions in particular as surrounding marriages and proposals (some with their own unsettling subtexts), but I suspect you can and probably should establish your own when it comes to it. In that light, below are my five ideas for something special to do on this year’s Leap Day. You can tell it is a writer’s list. It’s also a list for you to share in if you wish. You may even wish to involve a child in some of these activities.
1. Gratefulness Letter. Write a card or letter by longhand to express thanks to a friend, a loved one or perhaps someone whom you do not know well but who made a positive impact on you. Post it via the post office on Leap Day.
2. Letter to Future Self. Write a letter to yourself that you will post (again, I mean via the post office) on Leap Day but which you will not open until the next Leap Day. Therefore, think of it as a letter to your future self four years from now. What would you want to tell or remind your future self? Perhaps you would include something in the envelope (a picture, a drawing, a post-able memento) that you would want your future self to have?
3. Tea Time with Stories. Find someone or several someones you would like to have tea (or coffee or perhaps even make-believe tea) with and share stories. You could make it a Leap Day tradition for the future. Agree before the end of the tea that you will meet again next Leap Day and, prior to when that day comes, send out proper invitations to Leap Tea.
4. Random Act of Kindness. Do something for someone that will make her or him happy or smile. Better if you can find out ahead of time what that person needs. All this must be done anonymously.
5. A Walk in the Woods. Take a walk in the woods or out in nature by yourself preferably or with a friend who respects silence as much as words.
What do you think? Now, I need to locate a couple of stamps. I hope you will also visit the bloggers below and take a look at their Leap Day ideas:
Carmela Dutra, A Blog for Your Thoughts: The Perfect Leap Day
Cat Michaels, Cat’s Corner: Top 10 Things I’d Do with My Extra 24 Hours on Leap Day
Julie Gorges, Baby Boomer Bliss: Eight Fun Ways to Spend Leap Day