Leap Day



I’ve been asked, What will you do with the wee extra bit of time granted – this extra day ?

What I know is that the dishes still need to be done, the mortgage paid, the dog walked, the toilet cleaned. I have been given a smidge more time to love my spouse, eat dinner with friends, maybe write a poem, if I had only one day to live, this day, how would I live it?

The fact is, having more time, even an extra day,  doesn’t do a damn thing for me. I will live my life the exact way that I live it now, the way I’ve been living.

The question, as Mary Oliver asks In The Summer Day, is what are you doing with your one wild precious life?

Not what will I do when I have time, not the what if, not the Leap Day this year, the extra day last time — because, trust me, it will be the exact same job, the same commute, same toilet to scrub whether I have an extra day or not.

So what is it? What is it now? This wild precious life.

This morning I’m simmering like a pot of soup on a well banked fire after enjoying Sexy Time with my husband of 37 years. An unmentionable fact of breast cancer treatment is that 60%-90% of survivors have sexual dysfunction — libido, lubrication, penetration, orgasm — non-existent, or not the same; the hateful “New Normal;” sometimes you really wonder if it’s worth it. The  coals in my rusty pot-bellied stove are  covered with ashes, but there’s  heat and I’m not waiting, not for tomorrow, not for next Leap Day – I’m cooking now!

This wild precious life.

I’m enjoying the tranquility of my routine – coffee in the backyard, dawn now, with the mist feathering trees I planted ten years ago; they are a sort of family. Two hummingbirds are pairing up, zooming first to the white-barked birch, then to the katsura, then the cryptomeria. They sound like rubber bands, thrumming on a home made banjo. Delight – This is delight.

This wild precious life.

I am captivated by the flowers – not the brilliant colors of the dangling blossoms, nor the dripping raindrops from their faces – no, it is the vitality that they express – their life that is anchored in the Earth. My attention is held by the turgid stems, the open armed leaves. That’s where I live.


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