Art of Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson

We recognize February for several reasons each year.

It is the shortest month. Many of us celebrate the ideal of romantic love each February. Some of us remember Black history in February. The beginning of the liturgical season of Lent often, but not always, arrives in February on Ash Wednesday.

Some of us spend a day each February anticipating the ability of a groundhog to predict the weather.

We have more time to celebrate this year February than we commonly do. Because this is a leap year, this February has an extra day.

A leap year, which is also known as an intercalary year or bissextile year, is a calendar year which contains an extra day to keep the calendar synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Calendars which have the same number of days each year drift over time with respect to the seasonal or astronomical events they are designed to track.

Our Gregorian calendar is named for Pope Gregory XIII who introduced it in October, 1582. It is a solar calendar, with one year being the time it takes the earth to complete a rotation around the sun.

In the Hebrew calendar, which is a lunar calendar, a thirteenth lunar month is added seven times every 19 years to keep it from drifting.

Smaller adjustments are occasionally made by inserting, or intercalating, leap seconds into Coordinated Universal Time based on variables in the earthís rotation time. Leap seconds are not introduced on a regular schedule.

In the United States, leap years tend to coincide with years in which there are presidential elections and Summer Olympics.

Many of us see leap years tend as a disruption or inconvenience, even though they give us an extra day. We forget to add February 29 until we make a mistake. Leap Day can throw us off until we forget about it for another four years.

I know several people who were born on a Leap Day. They only get a birthday once every four years or so. Some of them try to claim to be one fourth their age, while others celebrate the day before their birthday most years.

Thinking about leap years can cause us to question some of the most basic parts of our lives. If a year is not really a year, what else do we believe which is not real? Are there other assumptions we make which do not reflect how life really works?

I believe Leap Year, and Leap Days, are events to be recognized and celebrated. It is almost as if we have saved up a days worth of time over the last few years and now we get to spend it.

How will we use our Leap Day this year? Some fo us will spend it while other s will try to invest it in something worthwhile. What sorts of returns can we earn on our one extra day this year?

Of course, an excellent way to enjoy Leap Day this year is by sampling local craft beers. Leap Day this year happens to be on a Saturday, which lends itself to exploring our craft beer options. Take the opportunity to visit your local craft brewery tasting room and ask them for their Leap Year brew.

For example Home Brewing Company in San Diego will be celebrating Johnís eleventh birthday with a special Leap Day beer release. Nickel Brewing Company in Julian is also brewing a special Leap Year IPA.

I hope you spend at least part of your extra Leap Day this year contemplating spiritual life and discovering an excellent new craft beer.

Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor in Pasadena, California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and monks and monastic life. Greg has served as an assistant district attorney and an associate university professor. Gregís website is StrategicMonk.com and he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk. You can email Greg at StrategicMonk@gmail.com, and he writes a blog for the Contemplative channel on http://www.patheos.com.

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