December 15, 2012 6:47:09 PM
Are you ready for the end of the world? There has been much hype lately about the Mayan calendar, which stops on Dec. 21, 2012. Some interpretations suggest that there will be a catastrophe, such as a collision between Earth and another planet called "Nibiru." (Has anyone ever heard of this planet?)
The New Age thinking is that it will be the start of a wonderful new era, one where we will all embrace a peaceful spirituality. (In your head, now, sing a verse or two of "The Age of Aquarius.") Of course, there is also the possibility that the Mayans just ran out of room when creating that lovely and intricate piece of art.
I am not expecting much change. If I were, I would stop writing this column and just spend these last days with my husband and furry children. We would pig out on "junque" food and not worry about the house note, the fiscal cliff, or our waistlines. (OK. We are very self-indulgent and seldom worry about our waistlines.)
However, I do embrace the idea that we should all work on creating a fantastic new world, even if it is only our small part of the world. Those of us who truly believe there will be a Dec. 25th are still shopping. Let's include some local charities on our gift list.
The Golden Triangle area has many groups doing wonderful work for animals. Not only do we have our county shelters, but we also have private groups such as Shaw Pit Bull Rescue, and Cedarhill Animal Sanctuary, which saves the lives of tiny house cats, huge jungle cats and almost everything in between.
Money is tight for most of us this year. This is a great time to volunteer our talents instead of a cash donation. A quick Internet search will reveal hundreds of volunteer opportunities that are geared to your interests and abilities. You might check out "Volunteer Mississippi" or "United Way of Lowndes County."
We may also think even smaller still. My neighbors, Jyl and Greg, do so many thoughtful things for Chris and me during the year. They share fresh vegetables and things they cooked. Jyl often tosses our Dispatch onto the porch as she passes by. This might seem like an insignificant gesture, but my arthritis is so bad now that even maneuvering the few front steps is very painful for me.
Jyl's father, Bobby Miller, also lives next door. He loves anything that grows. Mr. Miller often digs up saplings that have taken root in our yard and replants them someplace where they will be happier. Believe me, our yard can use all the help it can get.
Real changes may not be big. They require only a bit of thoughtfulness, and recognizing a need.
The date of Dec. 21, 2012, is based on something called the "Mayan Long Count," which is regarded as the end of a 5,125-year-long cycle. We can all sincerely hope that this is the dawning of a new age of kindness and spiritual transformation. No matter what is happening all over the globe, this is a good time to start making our little part of the world truly "golden."
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.