Last Friday was 11-11-11. Did you notice anything different about the day or mark it in any way? I’m not sure why I was so conscious of the repetitive date this year. We’ve already had 1-1-01, 2-2-02, 3-3-03, etc. and I didn’t pay any attention to those. I did take a little notice of 10-10-10 last year but mainly because since my first year of college, I’ve tracked the weather on 10-10–but that’s another story.
Somehow, 11-11-11 this year caught my imagination more than those earlier dates and I planned the day in celebration of what seemed an auspicious occasion. I had brunch with a dear friend at a little café while a Veteran’s Day parade marched to peppy school bands, making a loop around two blocks of the downtown area. I had to park several blocks from the café because of the parade route but I enjoyed my walk to the car, noticing the few leaves that still clothed the trees.
In the afternoon, I picked rosemary bundles for our Thanksgiving share pick-up the next day. Our rosemary bush is taking over the greenhouse and needed a little pruning. By the time I finished, my hands were dark with rosemary pitch and the bush wasn’t much tamer, but the bundles brought deep green to the roots, squash, & alliums we’d give in the share. We’ve got rosemary plants rooting in the greenhouse too for a plant sale in May; I decided I’d bring a few in the house now for some pre-holiday evergreen cheer.
Later in the afternoon I picked fall spinach for our pasta dinner with this summer’s sundried tomatoes and shallots in cream. Unlike the bright sun the day before, the sunlight was diffuse all day, like fall had finally settled in. The day had passed slowly, more grazing than galloping toward the darkening sunset. I re-kindled a fire in the woodstove and John brought home organic wine (no sulfites to give me a headache) and French bread for our candlelight dinner.
Why did 11-11-11 mean so much to me? Perhaps it’s something to do with being 52, having turned the corner on one career and choosing to slow my pace of life. I’m more conscious of how I use my time now because I know I haven’t got all the time in the world. Marking an unusual date I’ll never see again in my lifetime–triple pairs of the same prime number!–reminds me to pay attention to what I’m doing, to think about how I spend each day, especially those over which I have some control. I’m already thinking about how to spend next year’s 12-12-12, the last time I’ll ever be able to celebrate such a date again. If nothing else on 11-11-11, I enjoyed the enjoying of it.