Winds of change: my doomsday story

It’s January 2013 and I still report to my desk job the same as usual instead of somewhere underground sheltered from nuclear fallout or solar flares or other fantastic cataclysm (not that I have such an underground shelter to go to). December 21, 2012 came and went and the biggest headliner was about a looming fiscal cliff.

I had planned to stock-up on essentials before the end of the year, just in case. But I spent a few moments pause for a gut reality check sometime in October and the hair on the back of my neck did not stand up . So I carried on with Holiday festivities, business as usual. I shopped for toys and brand name hand soap, not cases of bottled water and bulk toilet paper. 

Since 2009 I had watched History channel shows about the Nostradamus effect–the theory that ancient prophecies from different cultures all converge to something dramatic near the date December 21, 2012. That day supposedly marked the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar and a profound Nostradamus ‘choice point’. Provocative and intriguing, I thought.

I read books, watched shows about ‘preppers’ building enormous underground living capsules, and tuned in every Tuesday for another History channel installment. Then I watched the film ‘2012’ starring John Cusack and Thandie Newton. The story line was so far-fetched that it killed all the intrigue out of the 2012 phenomenon. Whole land masses ripped open. Volcanoes claimed the entire Hawaiian island chain. Sea levels rose to mountain tops. Bleh.

L.A. sinking into ocean

So on the eve of the appointed day I was not in China high atop some mountain waiting for the great deluge. To the absolute contrary, the fear of any sort of cataclysm long gone, I was on a camp ground in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii (yes, where there is an active volcano). Not only was I near an active volcano, but I was at sea level…in a tent. I had come full circle and treated doomsday like any other day.

None of the things of Hollywood’s doomsday scenarios came to pass. Surprise. Surprise. Kilauea volcano did not stir and the oceans did not rise. But here’s what did happen in real life: gale force winds blew amazingly for hours on end Thursday evening, all night long and through the wee morning hours. Part of the tent broke and we considered breaking down camp. But we hunkered down, reinforced the tent with rope and heavy rocks then went to sleep. I dozed peacefully at first, but as the night wore on it was impossible to sleep in a tent flapping violently about in what became the longest night of the year.

This turbulent wind continued through the day on December 21st. The strength and the constancy of swirling, sweeping, gusting energy was remarkable…and exhausting. Nothing could be taken for granted. Putting contacts on, cooking breakfast, sitting down. Everything normal and routine turned upside down and sideways and thrown around.

Finally, by late afternoon when most had resigned to living with the windy conditions, the winds picked up to a climax. Sand whipped at my bare arms and legs. Dust blew into my eyes. I saw chairs, beach balls, whole picnic baskets picked up and the contents carried out to sea never to return.

Backed up against a large tree for shelter with adrenalin coursing through my veins, I pondered the meaning of it all. One person shouted “It’s the wrath of the aina (Hawaiian for land)!” As little children screamed out of pure fright, I finally concluded with a certain sense of knowing that what I witnessed were the winds of change. It was a premonition of things to come. Everything normal turns upside down and sideways and thrown around.

By the next morning I could almost forget about the peculiar events of the past day. Hawaii was back to sunny, breezy paradise. Except the apocalyptic day was so remarkable that it’s left me with an indelible impression. For me, it reinforces the palpable energy of uncertainty in the air; the same uncertainty that so gripped the imagination of many all over the world and led to the 2012 hype in the first place.

Esoteric ancient books aside, it’s the uncertainty that comes with the increasingly bizarre weather we keep seeing. And the same uncertainty that comes with the economic instability of our times–16 trillion-dollar debt, high unemployment, inflated food and energy costs. Perhaps the Mayans got it right after all and December 21, 2012 marked the start of something significantly new, of wind sweeping change. Some of our old ways might be wrecked to shreds, but I am hopeful that new evolved ones will take its place.  I guess we’ll just have to see. Happy New Year and maybe Happy new era!

Do you have a doomsday story? I’d love to hear about it.

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