Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at

How is your 2024 going so far? Mine got off to an interesting start.

Having spent the days leading up to New Year’s doing my best to be in the spirit of the thing, it was a total bummer to come down with a small sniffle New Year’s Eve – then spend literally the entire month of January in bed, as sick as can be.

It seemed to me like the omens for 2024 were not good. Not good at all.

Giving up on an entire year on the first day is truly, truly sad. I mean, there’s a lot more of that same year yet to come, 364 more days to be exact. Except, wait a minute. No. Not true. Not this year. This year is a special year – this year is a leap year.

The origins of the leap year go back to ancient Rome. The first calendar was synced to the moon phases, and if you ask me, that is pretty cool. But, in order to keep the months in sync with the seasons (because crops matter), they added an extra month.

That was good, but not quite good enough. So in 46 B.C., Julius Caesar refined it further by borrowing a solar-based calendar from Egypt and adding an extra day, every four years, to the end of February.


Problem solved, three cheers to him.

Only it wasn’t. Turns out, that was a bit of an overcompensation. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII fixed the fix by decreeing that the extra day, which was a little too much of a good thing, would be ignored in “century” years, giving us the modern day Gregorian calendar.

Yes, it is a little complicated, but it seems to be working.

More importantly for my purposes, Feb. 29, the “Brigadoon” of days, became an event imbued with heaps of myths, beliefs and superstitions.

Of course, a lot of the beliefs and superstitions are negative. Loads of cultures hold that the day is bad luck. Bad day to get engaged, get married, be born – or shear a sheep. OK, that last one is not so universally applicable anymore, but you get my point.

However, if you are inclined (and I am) to look for a way to rearrange the tea leaves of fortune, then it seems to make sense that bad luck (leap year) following bad luck (lousy start) means good luck. The double negative of fate.


If that is too far a stretch, then lean on the fact that many other cultures feel differently, openly declaring leap years to be good luck through and through. What’s more, one of these cultures is China, which also gives us the Lunar New Year.  This year is the Year of the Dragon. widely associated in the Chinese culture with prosperity and good fortune. Good luck doubled.

I don’t mean to appropriate, but I have decided to believe them. Respectfully.

This is exactly the sort of timeline “hiccup” rationale I needed to justify calling a cosmic do-over. And I am. I’m calling it.

Heck yes, leap year. I am embracing that magical day of calendar shenanigans.

I admit, I do not so much believe that luck or magic actually inhabits a day, but I do, quite genuinely, believe that both luck and magic show up when we dedicate our attention and focus to the present moment. Under those conditions, any day can be the start to something amazing.

Beyond that though, there really is something a little “extra” to a day whose sole purpose, whose entire existence, is down to a group of curious, thoughtful humans trying their best to create some order, getting it wrong, and stitching up a fix. That really is my kind of holiday.

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