A Cow and a Shrimp Walk Into My Freezer ...
Today, while we were on our way to the butcher's to pick up our portion of the cow we bought from a local farmer, Big Little Sister said, "My friend said that in 2012 the sun is going to burn up all of the satellites."
Her tone was matter-of-fact, like her friend had said in 2012 the Boston Red Sox would win the World Series, and we'd all eat peanuts, popcorn and cracker jacks in celebration.
She continued, "When all of the satellites are gone, we won't have any electricity, and it will be the end of the world."
I looked at her kind of sideways (I was driving and couldn't take my eyes off the road to really study her face, like I wanted to do).
"And what do you think about that?" I asked her.
She just shrugged.
I told her that the Mayan calendar ended in 2012. I also mentioned that each astrological age was approximately 2025 years long (stating that most things in nature aren't exact, and so that number, 2025 years, is not definite, but an estimate), and the current astrological age started about 2009 years ago. I told her that we were coming to the end of the Age of Pisces and entering the Age of Aquarius.
Then, I said, "You realize, though, that every ending is also a beginning, right? The end of a road is the beginning of a wilderness. The end of the day is the beginning of night. The end of one year is the beginning of another. Just because the Mayan calendar ends at 2012, doesn't mean that the world is going to cease to exist. It just means that it's the beginning of something different."
We arrived at our destination, and I parked the car, taking the opportunity to look her square in the face. I told her that I thought she should have a reassuring talk with her friend. I told her that not having electricity did not mean the world was ending and that we'd all die. I assured her that people had lived for hundreds of thousands of years without electricity. I told her, making sure that she was really listening to me, that everything we use electricity to do, we could do without it ... except the computer, and, then, I stopped and smiled at her, because she and her friend spend a lot of time on the computer together ;). But after a pause, I added that it was possible to make electricity on our own, and maybe we wouldn't have as much electricity, and maybe we'd have to give up our washing machine and refrigerator to keep the computers, but there are alternatives to those things.
And I went into the shop to get our meat, while she and her sisters played with the cat that came up to the car to greet us. She didn't mention it again.
I was suddenly very thankful - thankful that we'd lost power for three days just about a month ago, and that we'd come through without any problems. I was thankful for the Twenty-one Days 'Til Collapse challenge in September and October, and I was thankful for the Independence Day Challenge.
Maybe if I'd been a little less prepared, maybe if I'd been at either extreme of Camp TEOTWAWKI (the grab-your-gun-and-your-beef-jerky-and-run-for-the-hills Camp or the Bill-Gates-will-figure-it-out-and-sell-it-at-Wal*Mart Camp), her comment might have freaked me out a bit, but it didn't.
What does kind of knock a hole in my socks, however, is that she and her friend are even having that conversation. It's weird, a little, I guess. It makes me wonder where her friend heard the date, 2012. There are a lot of people, with very different points of view, talking about the significance of that particular year. Of course, in 1995, I was told, very emphatically, that the end of the world would come in February 1997, and the people who were telling me (a religious group) had proof. While I certainly didn't believe that anyone can predict the exact date the world will end, based on information in the Bible, it did cause me a bit of concern. So, when I started hearing the year 2012 being tossed around as having some spiritual significance, I began to wonder. It's probably as accurate as the 1997 prediction.
But I wonder.
Regardless, though, as I tried to assure Big Little Sister so that she could soothe her friend, even if the end of the world As We Know It does occur in 2012, the best we can do is learn what we can to survive without all of the luxuries we've come to depend on.