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End of days?

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The effort to avoid doomsday is becomming a marathon, instead of a sprint.

Terminator fans will note Skynet did not in fact become self-aware April 19, 2011. Anyone Christmas shopping for a young adult can’t argue with the rise of the machines, but thankfully judgment day has yet to occur, save in the movies.

It was also a relief to discover Harold Camping’s mathematical interpretation of the bible scheduling the end of the world for May 21, 2011 received a failing grade. As did his re-jigging of the numbers, pushing humanity’s destruction ahead six months to October 21, 2011.

That deadly hat-trick scarcely behind us however, December 21, 2012, and what some see as the End of Days predicted in the Mayan calendar, looms close on the horizon.

You’ve got to love the fictitious weather forecast, calling for temperatures of 999 degrees and meteor showers on Friday making the rounds on Facebook. Of course, it won’t be so funny if a massive fireball does blot out the earth, but cancelling weekend plans may be a tad premature.

On the plus side, the ‘inside scoop’ courtesy of Belizian historian Jake Martinez indicates we’re going to be OK – at least according to his interpretation of the Maya.

Martinez’s workday begins well before dawn in the sticky, humid darkness of an equatorial morning. His version of a commute for a highway rendezvous with a tour bus begins on a jungle trail and features snakes, rather than heavy vehicular traffic.

Martinez takes great pride in sharing his twin passions with passing tourists: the spectacular geography, flora and fauna of Belize, enhanced by the presence of stunning Mayan ruins, including Xunantunich in his own backyard.

Quick on his feet both physically and mentally, Martinez is both knowledgeable and patient in the face of endless questions, including one he had clearly heard before.

“You’re asking me about the end-of-the-world cycle for the Maya, which is the 52-year cycle, and they are talking about December 21, 2012, where the world will come to an end,” he responded during a tour in May, 2011.

Martinez explained that the Mayans believed in a flat world comprised of three levels: an upper, the middle, “where we are,” and the underworld. The Mayans believed the middle world had four corners, each spanning 52 years in between, ‘four different corners and four different timeframes for the Maya.’

Currently, continued Martinez, “we are at timeframe number three,” representing a 52-year span.

According to the Mayans, he said, shifts in 52-year spans in their ‘calendrics’ from one to another corner of their perception of the flat middle world would be accompanied by ‘some kind of’ effects, including, climatic changes which the world does in fact seem to be experiencing.

“But sure, all-in-all, it’s just the end of a 52-year cycle that’s happening for the Maya, that’s all it is. There’s no worries about Armageddon, none of that stuff.

“If the world is coming to an end, no one really knows, but for the Maya, it’s just the beginning of another 52-year cycle at that point in time, that’s all it is.”

Those wishing to hear Martinez’s beautifully-accented words verbatim are invited to visit The Tillsonburg News website to view ‘Doomsday’, a video made shortly after May 21, 2011.

Hopefully, the website will be operational and humans around to view it past December 21, 2012.

In the interim, Terminator fans would love to see Arnie ‘be back’ for more than a cameo in Terminator V; Camping reportedly continues to search the bible, not for dates of human destruction, but for greater understanding; one sincerely hopes Martinez continues to enlighten tourists; and some of us have made dinner plans for Friday evening.

In the first place, if Jake, standing in the virtual shadow of a massive Mayan ruin, says we’re OK, that’s good enough for me. In the second, if you’ve got to go, there are worse ways than being in the company of old friends. And finally, there’s undeniable merit to the theory we’re all leaving this physical world at some point anyway, the real challenge is living fully in whatever time we have left.

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