The fact that, according to the ancient Mayans, the end of this world is tomorrow, Friday, simmers away like a sauce we put on a low back burner.
We get a whiff of it's scent now and then, but busy ourselves with setting up the ongoing feast of our lives. Time has burnt along ... and if their prognostication is correct, this will be my final blog. I have stirred this mole now and then ... largely out of curiosity and a learned propensity to think in terms of incontrovertible global catastrophe.
The prospect of living out my full span of average years, ringing the high bell on the mortality statistics strong man test ... was trumped, to use a term with too much media play, by two huge probabilities. The first dark forest of monoliths on the backlit horizon of my future was composed of Soviet ICBMs, all pointed at the northwest suburbs of Chicago. All the adults who were authorities took this probability very seriously. Many ordered or dug holes in their backyard according to plans the governmentt was happy to provide for something they called, optimistically, "fallout shelters."
This was sixties spin for the phrase, "your own tomb." I was pretty well convinced the shortterm long-range weather forecast included a ten thousand degree fireball, very high sultry winds and nuclear snow. On the brighter side, my mother, in particular, got into a group of Christians, who had concluded from their sage grasp of the Bible, that the end of this world, beginning with Armageddon, was upon us within a matter of years.
I lived out my preteen and teen years convinced that sometime before, what — 1984, all true believers would fly up into the clouds like deposits getting sucked up into the tubes of drive through banks, while the rest of the world would be devastated by horrible fires, floods, plagues, etc. ... probably nuclear war.
Well, the eighties came and went and if the true believers were sucked into heaven, evidently there were not many and I didn't know any. The Soviets also came and went. Even the forests of nukes have been hacked to a still globally lethal but small fraction of their former size. Let's just say I had the synaptic linkage assembled for meeting my end gruesomely but in large indiscriminate company.
When I became aware of the Mayan prediction, I was standing and prespiring with an anthropologist in Palenque, a magical and significant Mayan ruin. "End of the world, you say," whiffing that scent I knew and had come to accept, if not love, as part of my psyche's home. My nostrils flared taking in the character of this new version, the Chocolate Mole of Annihlation.
But since then, whenever the next winner of Idol became too obvious, when I sprained my Facebook finger, when, in short, the banalities I prioritize in life bored me more than the norm ... I returned to intense research on the topic of the Mayan Prophecy of Our Total Disintegration.
In other words, popping an n/a beer, I cleared my mind and channeled the making of this calendar. The following describes the more salient images in what I beheld. I saw a man squatting in the rainforest. Chisel in hand, he tapped away at a flattened stone tablet, one of a long row of similar stones. The earliest in the row were evidenced by the weeds that had progressively overtaken them and the tropical birdshot that all but eclipsed the hand cut scrawls festooning their rough surface. The most recent seemed different. The symbols were larger, less precise, and seemed to be increasingly simpler. There was an evidenced economy of means, as one mark seemed to take the place of many, or a pictograph turned from what once looked like an elaborate feathered kings profile into something more akin to emoticons. The man chipped and chipped, his thickened hands knobby, his hair thin and white. But, the ring of his hammer slowed, dulling to to a thud, thud. Finally, it stopped.
The man sat still. Sunlight broke in rods of golden light through the canopy overhead. Large brilliant birds shot by. The man looked at the row of stones beside him. He looked at the one between his knees, paused, then chiseled a final simple shape. He rose to his broad feet, looked to the left and right and then flung his chisel and hammer as far as he could into the surrounding tangle of yucatacan foliage. He exclaimed something I understood to be roughly similar to the English, "$&#* this #(*$," and then padded off to make love to his aging wife. On the solitary final stone ... his last symbol, was a simple X. Wait ... I saw something else on the stone ... a ... a ... circle. Kisses from our ancient past? A reassuring sign of the cyclic nature of time ... Or, as some may maintain, the letter O ... ?