Here we go, knitting up our imperfect skein of days with the addition of an extra twenty-four hours. Leap Year conjures up the image of a mysterious space hiding in time, a special day to be unfolded like a Valentine, unwrapped like a package, cherished like a precious flower. For this writer, February twenty-ninth presents a rare opportunity to find within or outside of myself that space room to grow ideas.
A friend of mine once wrote a wonderful short story about a young girl standing on a precipice trying to decide whether to leap or not. Both the outer story and the inner were beautifully developed. The metaphor of taking that leap applies to all of us who stand on a threshold, fearful of jumping into the unknown, fearful of not taking that proverbial ‘leap of faith.’
I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be born on Leap Day. As a child, do you search the calendar for your special day? Think of it as hiding or stolen? Would you celebrate wildly only on those leap year days or accept the consolation of blowing out the candles on the twenty-eighth? Would you joke about your age, reveling in its slow progression of your real birthdays? Imagine that the world only recognizes your arrival every four years, that somehow you, too, have s;lipped between the pages of the months, residing in a true leap of time..
Several of my colleagues have attended a workshop given by the talented writer Katrina Kittle — Leap and the Net Will Appear. In this gathering, participants explore the idea of letting go of the known and hurtling into the unknown, trusting that the net will be there as they do so. Gravity pulls us ever earthward. The years wind on in a predictable manner. Except for Leap Year, when we jar loose from the ordinary. I rather like the idea of leaping into space, in all interpretations of that word. I love filling white space on the page or screen, seeing the marks march on, conveying meaning as I work. I love the idea of leaping into Space, the infinite universe beyond our planet-born selves. I enjoy the challenge of filling the space around me, as dancers do, of moving bodies forward to energize the emptiness around us. Above all, I value the belief that, as an artist, I must make that leap, trusting that the net will indeed materialize when I step off the ledge.