The Christmas Letter
Wave Goodbye Say Hello
The number of Christmas cards we receive each year is significantly lower than the year before. Which either points to our waning popularity or the desire to go ‘digital’ and send e-cards (ecologically sound yet relationally thin). The Christmas letter however seems to have grown in trend and like Christmas cards they vary in style, some are flimsy and light, others go through the motions bearing the hallmark of a production line, some however are given special thought.
There is a particular letter I look forward to reading every year, my features smile my mind expands, it extends beyond the annual CV and inspires me. I’ve been granted permission to share it and my hope is that it strikes the same chord with you.
Is it just me, or has this year gone by even quicker than the last?
That’s a rhetorical question because I know from reading the internet that time really is speeding up. They# say that since 1980 the world’s ‘pulse’ has almost doubled from 7.8 to 12 cycles per second? No, I’ve no idea what they’re talking about either but evidently, if we ever reach a pulse of 13 then the world will stop rotating - which would be interesting.
I’m not sure why I’m only finding out about this important matter now* but it’s all mysteriously linked to the Mayan Long Count Calendar and the end of the world. According to the Maya, b’ak’tun 13 ends on the 21 December 2012. Immediately thereafter, the options appear to be either universal annihilation or a new age of spiritual transformation.
I’m just going to take a gamble here and wish you a Very Happy Christmas!
Now just before you get all giddy and light headed at having just survived a near apocalypse I feel that it is my duty to warn you that 2013 doesn’t look good. Scientists (proper, respectable ones) are predicting that in 2013 we will be bombarded by a huge solar storm which could burn out the electrical systems of half the world.
Our sun has been especially active for half a century but then in the last few years things have quietened down and reached a stage in the Sun’s cycle when massive electro-magnetic flares are more likely. Something similar to the 1859 Carrington flare, which engulfed two-thirds of the Earths skies in a crimson aurora; crippling the telegraph network as electro-magnetic energy surged through the wires. 2013 is the year it’s due to happen again.
Couple this with the dire financial predictions of another, deeper, global recession and it looks like it might be wisest to play it safe and take leaf out of the Maya’s book† by transferring all your worldly wealth into gold and chocolate.
On a brighter note 2013 is the first year since 1987 to consist of four different digits.
The important thing about apocalyptical predictions is that they remind us that life is fragile and wonderful. Everything can be swept away in a moment by a diagnosis, an accident or a dreaded telephone call§. However our lives are lived in all the rest of the moments which pass without incident in just the miracle of living an ordinary life.
I wish for us all to enjoy the present this Christmas. That said, the spirit of a Christmas letter does demand some reflection on the past.
My review of this year; compiled with all the fervour of an Arab Spring, the drama of a near Eurozone collapse and more moment by moment revelations than the Leveson Inquiry:
- On the 1 January 2012, not only did the official list of words allowed in scrabble change but I kept busy by making papier mâché, watching ‘The Killing’ and perfecting my pastry making
- I learnt how to make clean energy from Nuclear Fusion on the 14 March, the same day the Encyclopaedia Britannica announced they would no longer be producing their 32 volume library in print version
- June through to September the streets were strewn with bunting and cupcakes‡ as we all settled down to enjoy the Jubilympics
- 6 August, while personally unremarkable, was the day that ‘Curiosity’ landed on the surface of Mars. Exactly one month after VenusΩ transited the sun
- There were no sloes or blackberries to pick on 17 October because of the cold wet spring
- On the 16 November I was pick-pocketed in Hamley’s toy store
This year saw the invention (among many other things) of an indoor cloud, custom knitted trainers and a home test HIV kit. The US army finally realised that women aren’t just small men and issued body armour made for them. A third of babies born in the UK in 2012 will live to be 100 and after nine years of trying, a brand new elementĦ was created.
No one knows what 2013 will bring but I hope the Maya are right and that you experience spiritual transformation; and remember gold and chocolate and you can’t go far wrong.
# These articles/blog posts tend to cite their sources as “they” and “scientists”. Of course, it’s okay when I do this as I’m not making outlandish suggestions.
* It’s probably because I started googling ‘is time speeding up’.
† There are in fact only 3 Mayan books still in existence. They are written in the form of beautifully drawn hieroglyphics and as far as I know none of them give advice about financial investments.
§ Or, a natural disaster, global warming, nuclear melt-down, an asteroid colliding with the earth, that supervolcano under Yellowstone going off, a plague, war or indeed the world reaching a pulse of 13.
‡ This is a marked change from the previous summer of 2011 when the streets of our major city centres were strewn instead with the debris of looting and rioting.
Ω Also known as the Great Star or Wasp Star by the Maya; Venus’ entire cycle is charted in one of the 3 surviving books – although they fail to mention the transit (which won’t happen again now until 2117).
Ħ The highly unstable superheavy element 113. It has an enormous nucleus containing 113 protons and 165 neutrons. Only 3 atoms have been made so far.