If You Leap, You May Fall

Leap Day, February 29, 2008:  All day I’ve thought about this odd thing called leap year, caused by an intercalary year, the correcting of time.  The moon doesn’t allow us to have a perfect year of 365.0 days.  So, we (our ancestors – thank you, Gregorians) devised a way to correct the calendar, by adding an extra day to the year, but only every 4th year, as that is the calculation that corrects our calendar. That day is today.

I want a day that will correct May 29, 2007 (or was it, actually, May 30?), such that time as we know it, would allow us to make a correction to that night – the night Owen went missing.  Obviously, clocks and calendars are not responsible for events. Events happen irrespective of our concepts of time.  We mark time, despite those events, and this is one of our many dilemmas.

A perfect calendar – what a concept.  A perfect anything.  Is there such a thing?  I can think of perfect moments, so I think there is such a concept, even a reality of perfection.  Only as each of us perceives it, though. 

Dave and I have been remembering our perfect moments with Nat and Owen tonight.  We’ve come up with a few. 

One perfect moment:  We were living in Sebastopol.  Owen and I rescued a dog from our local hardware store (this was a 2-hour debate, but ended with a happy outcome for everyone).  Owen named him “Smokey” and in order to welcome him into the family, we wanted to make his initiation fun.  So, when Dave came home from work that evening, Owen was pregnant.  Smokey was the baby living under his t-shirt, and Nat, Dave, Grandma, and I watched as Owen presented Smokey to the family.  This fluffy, little, black puppy became a part of our household, in one big swoosh.  Owen pulled Smokey from underneath his shirt, and all was right with the world – for a brief time, in retrospect.

We had plenty of other perfect moments.  To recall just a few:  Owen and I fishing in San Diego County lakes; Owen and Dave fishing off piers in San Diego; Nat, Owen, Dave, and the guys golfing together; Mom’s memorial service at our house (weird, maybe, to think of someone’s funeral as perfect, but it was); Nat and Owen playing with Dubious Dog; Sara and Laura reading to Nat and Owen before bedtime; family nights with Pop, Auntie Lyn, and Nana; celebrating birthdays at the Fair Street house; Christmas Eves with Dave’s girls at our various houses in Sonoma County; the time we spent together while Nat was in four different hospitals when he was sick at age 13 (perfect because we were together, and he survived); our first few months together after we moved to Washington and everyone was finding their way in our new neighborhoods; afternoons spent with Lea on our patios and decks in Bodega Bay, Sebastopol, San Diego, Bellingham, and Petaluma; afternoons together at Stuart’s coffeehouse in Bellingham; laundry days with Carla and Owen at our house in Glenhaven, and dinners together on those evenings; meals at our house on Eldridge Street with Owen, Helen, Dave, and me, and time spent on the deck afterwards; going to get coffee, driving with the top down in the convertible with Nat and Owen, in Santa Rosa; and with the memories flooding in, the perfect times were so many, I’m overwhelmed – and that is perfect, too.

I received an email today from an employee with the subject line: “Leap Day”.  It was her letter of resignation.  She’s leaping off into a new future, one she hadn’t imagined just a few months ago.  When I read it, I remembered what it’s like to take that leap of faith, and how perfectly she timed her departure. 

I also thought about Owen’s departure, and whether I will ever think about the timing as anything other than devastating.  I have a hard time separating my grief, from his life path.  Was it perfect timing for Owen to leave this life?  Only he would have known.  Mostly, I’m tortured about my son’s untimely death, but I have to trust that while I think he was taken from us, he might have described his leap into the next life as something quite different.  I have to acknowledge that Owen accepted his often repeated mantra:  “whatever’s gonna happen, is gonna happen.”  I also have to continue my search for what happened that night. 

Owen expected me to ask questions, do my research, and find answers.  I continue to leap into unknown territory, and I expect to find answers.  I may fall flat, I may fall short, but I will have lept with the hope of flying.

Song for the night:  Consequences of Falling, K D Lang



~ by Linda on March 1, 2008.

3 Responses to “If You Leap, You May Fall”

  1. I love the perfect moments. And even after the consequences of falling, we have them to hold onto like a railing on the long stairway back up.

  2. The concept of “correcting” a day very much intrigues me. But I guess there are no guarantees about what the future would hold, if the day could be changed. Still, don’t we all have several days that we’d love to “correct”? Alas, such power may only be meant for God, as the consequences would surely change everyone’s life. (Sort of an opposite of “It’s A Wonderful Life”. But still, we can dream about it…
    Yes, do keep leaping until you grow wings! Love, Lonnette

  3. As I read this through falling tears…I remembered my own perfect moments with Michael.

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