alchemy

Spending the gift that is a leap day

Column by Andrea W. Doray
Posted 2/25/20

Leap. Leap of faith. Lovers’ leap. Leap to mind, look before you leap, on giant leap for mankind. Great leap forward. Leap frog, quantum leap, leap to conclusions. Leap year, leap month, leap day. …

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alchemy

Spending the gift that is a leap day

Posted

Leap. Leap of faith. Lovers’ leap. Leap to mind, look before you leap, on giant leap for mankind.

Great leap forward. Leap frog, quantum leap, leap to conclusions.

Leap year, leap month, leap day.

Leap day, Feb. 29, is a date that occurs every four years, added to the calendar as a corrective measure because the Earth doesn’t orbit the sun in precisely 365 days. The first modern leap day was observed Britain in 1752, and February was chosen because it’s the only month without 30 or 31 days.

Some historians believe leap days were introduced more than 2,000 years ago by competing Roman emperors who each wanted their own months – July and August, for example – to have the most days.

I find this history fascinating, as I do most history, but I haven’t really paid much mind to leap days before. This year, though, I’m curious about what I’ll be doing on leap day … how I’ll spend the 1,400 extra minutes of 2020, the gift of 86,400 seconds added to the other 365 days of the year.

As I write this, my eye falls on a gift I received some years ago from my friend Scarlett … a small glass jar with a couple of Hershey’s chocolate candies, a rubber band and a pencil eraser, a marble and a penny all wrapped in cellophane and tied with a white string.

It’s the note attached to the gift that caught my attention. In this one little glass bottle, Scarlett seems to have captured the ideal accessories for making the most of leap day … or any day, for that matter.

Perhaps the most important piece – for me, at least – is the eraser: “So you can make your mistakes disappear.” The penny is for more than luck … Scarlett tells me I will never have to say, “I’m broke!” And in case someone should say, “You’ve lost your marbles,” guess what? Yes, I have the one that Scarlett gave me.

The rubber band and the string both hold a lot of meaning for me. With the rubber band, I can stretch myself beyond my limits … which all of us must do from time to time. And the string? Scarlett tells me the string is to tie things together when everything falls apart.

Can I expect all of this on Saturday, Feb. 29? Let’s see – first, I am definitely sleeping in (this is not the mistake), meeting with my writing group, and going to lunch in Colorado Springs. Driving the Gap will certainly stretch me to my limits and I’ll probably need to hang on to that last marble as well. The penny will always come in handy and I hope I won’t need the string, but I’ll have it with me, just in case.

Oh ... and I forgot to mention the last two items: one small chocolate candy wrapped in silver paper – a “kiss” – and a “hug” in striped gold paper, so that anywhere I go (even through the Gap project!) I’ll know that someone, somewhere, cares about me.

And I can’t think of a better way to spend 86,400 seconds of my life.

Andrea Doray is a writer who would like to have leap days every year so she could sleep in more often. Contact Andrea at a.doray@andreadoray.com.

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