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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Up Bear Creek 3jan26013



Tweaking a North American calendar


BEYOND THE JULIAN … I know, I know. I have this obsession with calendars. Certainly the Christian calendar that we use, dated from the (unverified) date of the birth of Jesus of Bethlehem, has served us well. And it’s become an international standard. But, to my way of thinking, it’s far too religiously bound for the modern era, and far too culturally bound to our Graeco-Roman roots as North American immigrants of mostly European stock … Of course, there are other calendars … Muslims use the Hajri lunar calendar, starting with the flight of Muhammed from Medina to Mecca. Thus the current year is 1434 AH (standing for Anno Hejirae, in the year of Hijra) … The lunisolar Hebrew calendar has changed over time, but in the current Anno Mundi (in the year of the world) epoch, the current date is 5773 … The old traditional Chinese Yin lunisolar calendar can be calculated in a number of ways. We are currently in the Year of the Dragon, and the date is either 4709, 4649, or 4710, depending on the epoch used … There are many Hindi calendars, as might be expected from that hotbed of that ancient culture, each specific to different local cultural groups … So I think we as North Americans, with our New World perspective ought to craft our own calendar. For years I’ve tried to tie a calendar to the earliest humans to touch foot on this continent, but the science is unsettled. While the oldest physical anthropology evidence is 12,500 years ago, there are a number of unverified sites that are claimed to be far older – perhaps as old as 25,000 years ago … But the recent hoopla around the end of the first Great Cycle of the Izapan Mayan calendar has led to increased scrutiny on this indigenous calendric system. And to me, the start date of that calendar, some 26,000 years ago, seems to be perhaps a fitting starting point for a new Calendar specific to our place. Based on astronomical observations at the Mayan culture center of Izapa and focused on the passage of the solstice sun through the center of the Milky Way (the galactic womb for our solar system), their Long Count calendar started 26,000 years ago and was composed of 13 baktuns of 2000 years each. Since we are now in the first baktun of the new Great Cycle, I think measuring things from that start date makes more sense than something that happened in the Middle East just a couple of millennia ago … But in order to transition from the Gregorian dating system to this new dating system, I’m proposing we change our calendars from 2013 to 26013. The conversion factor is simple. We merely add 24 millennia to our current new year … In my mind, it puts our world into better perspective. It’s based on a date arrived at by the most sophisticated calendar ever created in the New World. Plus, it’s probably close to the date when the first humans reached Turtle Island.

[Ed. Note: Actually, this isn’t exactly correct. I clarified in next week’s column, but the Long Count calendar measures a 20 baktun cycle (7,886 years) that reached back to 3114 (BCE, Before the Christian Era) and was likely calculated a couple thousand years after the start date (early in but not at the beginning of the cycle of 20 baktuns). The recent Dec. 21, 2012 date marked the end of the 12th baktun and the start of the 13th baktun in this system. The Long Count calendar provided a way to measure distant times forward and backward for use on monument inscriptions. Its most brilliant insight was to recognize the precession of the equinoxes, the 25,800-year cycle of wobble that makes the constellations that we see shift in the sky. And it’s that celestial event that the calendar I’m starting to use commemorates, using the Izapan Mayan calendar hoopla as a reference point]

GETTING BACK TO NORMAL … But there’s never really a normal to get back to. Life is a constant mystery. And we seem to live a life of punctuated equilibrium – things going along smooth, in a groove, until something good or bad comes along, and smacks one’s small world around like a loose puck. What Paonia-born psychedelic guru Terence McKenna called Time Wave Zero … Getting re-elected was kind of more of the same, although doing the people’s work in campaigning or governance is always full of surprises – like San Juan and La Plata counties both turning blue, with Dem commissioner majorities on both boards … But losing my friend and co-parent Mary Friedberg was a shock that will keep reverberating throughout my life, and the lives of our children and extended family. I can’t imagine how it could be otherwise … Still I’ve got my heated buildings winterized, the potato and apple crops in, Mary’s life enshrined in her yurt, and my voluntary simplicity systems in place so that Gorio and I are snug in our routines at Cloud Acre. And Sara is in good hands with friends up in Telluride … If I’ve missed a call or failed to return an email, forgive me and try again. I hope I can keep up to speed with communications in the new year.
Victor Jara

VICTOR JARA … It’s hard to believe it’s taken 40 years for justice to be served in Chile, but finally eight retired military officers have been charged with the murder of charismatic Chilean folksinger Victor Jara back in 1973. Sad to remember the murder of this brilliant cultural leader, but glad to see his murderers held accountable, finally.

POETRY CLUB … Talking Gourds has morphed many times, from a festival in Telluride to an event at Faraway Ranch to a gathering on the Uncompahgre Plateau. For the last couple years it’s been a collaboration with a number of cultural groups for an interview-reading-gourds circle series at the Wilkinson Library … Now those of us local lovers of poetry have decided to change our venue and change our format. On Jan. 8th we’ll be holding the first meeting of the Talking Gourds Poetry Club at 8 p.m. at Arroyo Telluride, a fine art gallery and wine bar at 220 E. Colorado Avenue. This will be a chance to hear and enjoy poetry for anyone interested, not just writers. We’ll be seeking memberships in the club, although the club meeting on the first Tuesday of every month will be open to all. New members will receive a discount coupon for Between the Covers Bookstore, one of our sponsors. Wilkinson Library will be holding an event earlier that evening, and encouraging folks to stop by the poetry club afterwards … To begin this new series, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer and I will be doing a dual reading. I’m going to be sharing the erotic poetry of San Francisco poet Lenore Kandel, and Rosemerry has a surprise poet in mind to read from. After the reading, we’ll have a gourds circle and give folks a chance to read their own work or read erotic poetry from people they love … January 8th at 8 p.m. at Arroyo Telluride.

THE TALKING GOURD
Boletus edulis (Photo by David Spahr)

Boletus Coitus

now that the rains are here
I look for you every morning
your shiny head
hard, ready, poking out
from earthy covers
shrouded in moist greening hair

how I want you
virile king
mycelial talons unbuckling my dreams
sliding off each night
slippery, wet feet
diving into hunt

I carry my box
open, ready, a crevasse
for your long white flesh

the many faces of you
invite, coax with scent
thread me through naked blue and fallen golds
past deer bones, deserted beer cans
teasing with jacks and agarics
every sexy spotted red nub
making me want you more

there, right there
here
jutting like a bull pine
ripe, thick, ready
you dance me to you
I squeal, you wait
a fixed flower
microscopic pulses
patient as I coo
pull you into my world
lips moist
fire hot
ready

-Blake More
Point Arena (CA)

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