Two wading birds in silhouette on the beach. The one on the left has a down-curling bill and is probably a Whimbrel but might be a Long-billed Curlew.

Intercalary interstitial interregnum

The pleasure of the in-between days

by AK Krajewska

I love the quiet. The Christmas obligations have been dispensed with. Either I have fulfilled them or I have failed to fulfill them, but in any case they are moot now. New Year's Day will bring the fresh start feelings with perhaps a sense of obligation to make plans for self-improvement and maybe even act on them. But not yet. We are still in the lull. Days off for many people. I am one of those lucky ones, though even when I did work on these days it's been quiet.

Happy code freeze to all those who celebrate.

It's such a relief. No work, but also nothing important to do. No more gifts to buy, no fancy meals to cook, no opposing requirements from family members to balance. I just rest, which for me doesn't mean nothing, only nothing in particular. I gently bop between tea and poking at hobby code and little walks in the neighborhood and bigger walks in the city.

Everybody is doing nothing as hard as they can #

It's not just me and that somehow makes it better. The cafe on Thursday morning was full of irregulars--and in truth I was one of them since I normally only go on Saturdays. Ocean Beach, misty and cool at low tide, was busy with people walking along the tide line. I've been there on ordinary weekdays and it's not like this. I imagined maybe they also all came back from wherever it was they went and collectively decided to go to the beach. It felt like locals because of how they were dressed: appropriately for the weather.

I photographed birds. I went to Europa Express and bought hot smoked mackerel and Delicije. Today I'm drinking cup after cup of puerh, and I plan to stop only when I begin to vibrate.

A group of sanderlings tuck their beaks into their fluffy bellies

Thinkin' about stuff, but not too hard #

I like to do a gentle year in review. Just, you know, what happened and would I like more or less of that kind of thing? Last year I printed out the Year Compass booklet and used that to guide the reflection. It has enough structure that if you tend to get off track or ruminate, it'll keep you focused. When I'm happy, I get off track. When I'm not happy, I get off track and ruminate. Lately, and by lately I mean for the last 10 years, I've been happy.

The rain has started again and I can't tell if the hill is misty or just obscured by rain. Getting off-track again. I'm not even going to edit this out.

Five days without pants #

This thing, by the way, this in-between time, it seems to be a thing humans like to do. Ancient Egyptians had it, and it's called (retroactively) the intercalary month or epagomenal days and it was a period of rest. The French Revolutionary Calendar had it too, and called it Sansculottides, which I kid you not, were the days without pants. OK, I kid slightly. They were named after the sans-culottes, meaning "without breeches" a shorthand for the common people who were revolutionaries. Christians of course had the 12 Days of Christmas, starting on December 25 and ending on January 5 (or 26-6, depending). I wish Christmas was still celebrated that way, instead of extending the before time further and further into the frantic shopping and cleaning, putting all the energy into getting ready and then throwing out the Christmas tree on the 26th. By front-loading Christmas you get all the intensity of preparation and give up the gentle slide into the New Year.

Despite the drive to expand the frantic season, the Undays (as explained and possibly coined by @debcha) wiggle their ways back into the calendar. We all need a little bit of nothing, now and again.

Sanderling running away into the ocean