Today is December 21, the official Mayan end of the world…and it’s snowing in Mars Hill, NC. Well, it’s snowing a little. We might get an inch. I’m glad I decided to stay home and work on writing and art rather than risk getting out on these wendy-windy, hilly, icy roads. An inch doesn’t sound like much but it’s enough if you’re going downhill on a curve nd you hit a patch of ice…and there’s no shoulder, just a sheer drop. I won’t tempt the end of the world theory by getting out on dangerous mountain back roads.
I’ve been hearing “It’s the end times!!” all my freakin’ life. Really. I’m 59. How can people continue to be scared of something that never happens? Are our memories (as a species) that short? I guess so. Every year-EVERY YEAR-I hear people saying, in surprise, “It was so cold a couple of weeks ago and I got out my coats and gloves and now this week is so warm! Now I’ve got to get out my short-sleeved shirts again! What is with this weather?” Jesus Christ, it’s called Indian Summer and it happens EVERY YEAR. Every year it gets cold, then warms up, then settles down to being cold for the winter. During the winter, here in the South, we’ll have several cold days, then a couple of warm days. In my hometown, 70 on Christmas day is not unheard of. Here in the mountains, it’s cold. Cold and icy and snowy. And peppered among the really cold days are relatively warm days. So, why are people continually surprised about the weather? Maybe people simply don’t go outside enough. Anyway, I figure those are the same people who will give you big lectures about the “endtimes”-even though those are the same dire warnings I’ve been hearing my entire life.
My own personal end times will get here eventually, and those are the only end times I spend my energy on, and I suggest you all do the same. Live your life. Yes, go Zen on yourself and everyone else and appreciate the moment you’re in. Make sure you stop, several times every day, and just experience whatever is going on. Even if it’s painful. Sometimes feeling the pain is better than resisting it or denying it. Experience your work. Stop and look at what you’re doing, even if it seems mindless and boring. Remind yourself that this moment, honestly, this particular moment is IT. None of us are guaranteed anything-not tomorrow, not 20 years from now, not this afternoon. So stop and make sure you aren’t missing the moments of your life. We don’t know how many there are going to be.
I had a boyfriend once who was constantly letting me down. Once, we were supposed to drive to the mountains for the day-I lived somewhere else then-and he changed his mind when I called to remind him. He didn’t feel like it, he said, he wanted to stay home and watch TV. When I pointed out that he’d done this each time we were supposed to take a day trip he laughed and said “Oh, there’ll be other Saturdays, get over it.” I lost it then. I told him I was going to the mountains for the day, I was leaving at 8am and if he wanted to go, he was welcome, but I wasn’t staying home. When I got home the next night (yes, I went alone and had a great time!) he was astounded and upset that I had been gone all day. He was worried, he said, what if something had happened? I said the only thing that had happened was I realized I had no idea how many Saturdays I had and I wasn’t going to waste them watching TV with him. You may have figured out by now that I also decided I wasn’t going to waste any more of them on him. I didn’t and now when I really want to do something, I figure out a way to do it.
Here’s a quote I ran across the other day that made all kinds of lights go off in my head. I hope it helps you:
“Walker, there is no path; the path is made by walking.” Antonio Machado.
So walk already.