Leap Day 2016

February 29th always brings frogs to mind. That bears no great metaphorical truth; it’s just that I can’t think Leap Year without thinking of Leap Frog – it’s a remarkably unremarkable and simple word association that has stuck with me since I first became aware of this calendrical adjustment. For me though, it’s the only simple thing about the varied ways we account for irregularities in time-keeping.

Like passing the International Date Line, the appearance and disappearance of days baffles me – even though I am perfectly aware that it’s really just an adjustment like hemming a skirt or tinkering with a slow clock to get things into order. I do understand that it takes the earth 365.242 days to rotate the sun, and just like anybody, I want to save that time and keep my day planner in tune with the movements of the sun!

Even so, it’s hard for me to compute that we assign and create days – naturally, I realize that all we’re really doing is labeling and adjusting labels to match our perception of the passing of day into night and one season into another. And despite my urge to rational thinking and behavior (something at which I excel at forgetting), Leap Day remains magical. Like Brigadoon, the mystical Scottish Village that appears out of the mists of the beyond only once every 100 years, the quadrennial arrival of 2/29 strikes me as an auspicious, even charmed occasion.

It’s easy to observe the world around us, and this particular day through the lens of facts alone. But romantic that I am, I see this day as a gift. And I like to spend it that way. Just like a 10-spot that I find in last year’s coat, I like to spend 2/29 on something special for someone special.

Maybe I’m getting sappy in my middle age, but I want more magic in my life – and I want the people in my life to be magical, too. But, to repeat a theme from our Valentine’s Day Post, if you want magic, you have to start by making it. I’m not a Luddite – just try to take my phone – but for this day maybe I’ll turn it off when I talk to friends. And by friends, I mean those people who are physically present in my life. I have enough friends on social media who don’t even know me when they see me in person to appreciate real friends who can tell if I’m having a tough day by the way I enter the room (instead of by reading my pitiful posts).

Of course, most of us love technology, but like real food, real friends take a little of the kind of work that you have to be present to complete. So as you contemplate Leap Day, we encourage you to come meet real people for real food that really cooks while celebrating a day that emerges from the numinous whirl of the celestial dance once every four years. It might look like an unremarkable adjustment and seem as mundane as a game of leap frog – but it’s a gift. Grab it.