Outside Time

Back before we had the Julian and the Gregorian calendars, there were older ones. You knew that, of course. The Hebrews started counting time thousands and thousands of years ago. The Sumerians made them look like the only guy at the meeting still trying to work with a paper planner when everyone else has a Treo. My favorite old calendar (yes, I am a calendar geek): the old Celtic calendar. It tracked both the solar year, which of course is the one we run on, and the lunar year; and it had an entire leap MONTH every few years to make the solar and lunar years line up like they should. It also had a period outside time, every year, called Yule.

During Yule, you weren’t supposed to do anything except celebrate Yule. This was the period during which ordinary rules were turned on their heads, and the rich had to give to the poor, and crossdressing was the order of the day, and a temporary king, the Lord of Misrule, was appointed: and whatever he said, went. Mostly, it seems, he ordered another round of drinks. It was Yule, after all, and it was too cold outside to do anything except hang around, watch the Yule Log burn, and have another drink.

Where were you during that wonderful no-time that we no longer call Yule, but now call Christmas Break, or even Winter Break? I was playing with my family, resting from my war against the Gods of Computer Chaos, and trying to recover what measly scraps those aforementioned Evil Gods left behind.

I didn’t do any of the things I was supposed to do, though. I didn’t update my blog — obviously. I didn’t stay in as close contact with my clients as I like to, because email wasn’t always working. I didn’t make a whole lot of progress on most of my self-appointed jobs. But it was Yule, and for a blessed little while time didn’t count. And trying to recover lost data was just one more way of getting in touch with the people who matter to me — in this case, most notably, the writing partners for whom I am constantly grateful, who found new ways to overwhelm me with gratitude for their presence in my life, when they turned out to have saved everything I had been sending them. If only I’d sent them what I’d been writing for the past six months…

I’m back in Ordinary Time, of course, as are we all. Because my daughter’s Winter Break didn’t end until this week, I’m one of the last to climb back into the pool. This time in, I come back not merely refreshed but with a renewed sense of gratitude: for my wonderful family, for my ever-illuminating and patient clients, for my fabulous writing partners. Whether or not we realized it at the time, last year was way cool. This one’s going to be even cooler: I can feel it already.

Welcome back. 🙂

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