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Musing on a New Year: 2012

January 1, 2012
English: Mayan calendar created by a modern cr...

Image via Wikipedia

2012 is here.  It came with fanfare and parties.  But now it’s here with us, and unlike a party guest, it’s not going away for a year.

In my neck of the woods, it’s a beautiful day.  The sun is shining, it’s a tad windy, but the temperature is in the mid-fifties.  Lots of folks are out and about.  I’ve been watching them come and go from my spot at my local Star Bucks bar.  They are chipper, and giving “Happy New Year!” salutations.  The roads are also busy with cars, as people are moving about and getting on with their lives.

So, I can’t help but think about the doomsday predictions for this year, given the Mayan Calendar supposedly ends this year.  It’s almost as though the calendar were a predictor of some kind, and without it, we are trudging off into the unknown like the Starship Enterprise, bravely facing a new world;  Or a world that’s going to end this year.

But, I think about it like this:  If our civilization were to disappear, with the appearance of suddenness, and someone happened upon a calendar of ours that dated years and years into the future, wouldn’t they be worried about the same thing?  I mean, think about it.  There are people, and books that chart the years and movements of the planets and such for decades into the future.  Wouldn’t an unsuspecting new civilization view those calendars in the same way?  Wouldn’t they be wondering why we plotted all those movements way back then?  Why did they seemingly suddenly stop plotting them?

I often think, too, of all the toys and forks, both stainless and plastic, and such that kids play with in front yards that get buried in play, or left out and buried by a heavy rain fall.  Someday some excavationist is going to come across a front yard where several children played, find all those things, and try to piece together the meaning of it all.  They will attribute it some sort of faux cannibalistic ritual involving the pretense of eating humans based on all the eating utensils and headless Barbie dolls, or GI Joe’s.  The stainless steel utensils will have been for the formal rituals of the rich, and the plastic the ritual ware of the poor.  Though they won’t be far off in terms of who used what, their reasons will be so askew!  And they will use their learnedness to form their theories and present them to whatever world is listening.

Or better yet, they will run across Transformers and wonder if they really WERE the dead bodies of tiny aliens!!

We have only educated guesses about what happened back then, and why anyone did anything.  I suspect they really weren’t all that different from us in their reasons for doing things.  Curiosity, or conceit born of a thriving community that believed it could plan its continued success for hundreds of years, or a highly ritualistic and religious community that wanted to have all its ducks in a row for their gods as far into the future as they could.

I love a good mystery and the theories that come from discussing the unknown, or the barely known as much as anyone else.  It’s fun to speculate about motives and the whys of things.  But, regardless of our speculated reasons why they plotted their calendar so far out, we will never know their actual reasons.  And to base our lives on it, or be afraid of it, or worry about it, or let it color our hopes and dreams about a new year just doesn’t make any sense to me.

So, as I sit here enjoying my Sunday morning ritual, watching the wondrous and amazing thing we call life all around me, I am fortified and encouraged.  I have high hopes for 2012 being a stellar year.  Not just for me, but for us all.  And if it is the year the world ends, well, at least we’ll all be in it together, and no one will be facing that unknown alone unless they choose to.

Cathy Lynn

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