February 29th, the extra day which comes around in four year cycles. A strange idea, bonus – from Latin bene, good? A reward for good behaviour? A free gift?
This morning there is a bonus of bright sunshine and I am sitting writing in the summerhouse. There is still a skim of ice on the pond and I have a rug around me, but the sunlight is strong and warming. We have had the warmest winter on record, and here’s an extra day, free.
A time to think about the bonuses, rewards and gifts since this day four years ago. A new family member, a new role for us as grandparents. New writing opportunities for me, running groups and working towards an MA. New friendships growing through volunteering at the Community Library. Continuing rewards from being creative with textiles, (me) and Steve’s hard work and artistic touch in our beautiful garden.
All free? Some is unearned – the growth of babies and plants never ceases to amaze us. But then we as grandparents have the bonus of the fun without the hard work. As our grandson squeals with sheer delight at his own first steps, we join in his celebrations, and feel his joy just by watching. But gardeners, embroiderers and writers all know the pain of aching muscles after a few hours of effort. The reward is the joy of creating new pictures, nurturing new perspectives, celebrating fresh insights.
There have been losses over the four years too, and not just of the hair, teeth and eyesight kind. The older generation is no longer with us, paid work now relinquished, some responsibilities laid down. But right now, on this bonus day, sitting in the warmth of the sun, I am celebrating those gifts towards which I make no effort other than delighting in them.
Happy bonus day to you all.