A friend, Kirsten, in China said it best this morning, on a Facebook status update:
"I'm going to carpe the hell out of this diem."
It's a gravy day, to be sure. A bonus. That day that tags onto February only once every four years, making sure women can break the rules and politicians have another day of campaigning.
But it is a day.
Days come precious now, more precious after losing a partner, not counted but blurred.
When my husband's first wife died, he was out dating a month later, not by any particular design, but out of existential necessity, not wanting to be alone. I wondered, when he died, could I do the same? Probably not. Our culture hasn't evolved to the point yet, however much we might think differently, that women can behave like men without the universe looking askance, whether you're Hillary Clinton or Sadie Hawkins.
As this day approached, the illegitimate child of the solar calendar, I pondered how it would affect me, if at all. Could I suddenly toss everything on the winds of abandon? Stay in my pajamas all day? Give not a thought to stock markets or presidential campaigns or whether Iran is squeezing us at the gas pump?
I longed for that freedom that Sadie Hawkins Day teases, where women determine their own fate and master it, not just in pieces, but in whole.
Never could I have done what my husband did, something perceived as endearing in a man, scorned in a woman. I loved him no less, dismiss him no more, found every bit as much the lonely room closing in, tried not to count the days.
Today is a day. An extra day. A bonus day. A gift. I can do whatever I want, and in my own particular rules for this day there are no rules.
I heard this morning that yet another friend had died, and then, this afternoon, that Davy Jones was gone.
I lift off, for one more trip around the sun.
photo: Sunrise, Space Coast, Florida - Kathy Riordan