The New Year began with a bang. Since I didn’t bring it in with pink champagne or a string of ‘Page 3’ parties or nuzzling at a man’s neck, one could say I haven’t yet woken up to the fact that it is a new year – 2012. As if it was not morbid enough for me to lose my pet, Ginger, on January 5, I hear now that we all must prepare for the rightful end of our world on December 2012.
So, what does that mean? Should we buckle up and sashay down the path of our dreams and ambitions, aim for that high-paying job, and continue to hold grudges against traitor friends? Or should we quietly retire with whatever savings we have (strictly cash!) to the Himalayas?
But hasn’t the world ended several times for many of us when we have lost our lovers, jobs, parents, partners, siblings, pets, dreams and dignity? In that measure, if Mother Earth wants to explode by December, we can’t really fault that. We might as well put that thought aside until December 1, and live the way we want to, because by suddenly altering our natures or desperately seeking a role model in order to redeem ourselves over the next 11-odd months is a sheer waste of time.
To stay alive, we just need to live. Too simple? Not really. There are many ways to stay alive. New Year resolutions is a great and time tested way – that is, if you can focus on following them for a month or two, and then not. That will sort of fill you with guilt and all sorts of other useless emotions, guaranteed to remind you that you are human, and alive.
The other way, the bar-headed geese’s way, is worth considering. Bar-headed geese are one of God’s most special creations. Lily Whiteman writes in Audubon Birds about the impossibly daunting landscape where these surreal creatures survive. As Lily says, imagine this: At 29, 028 feet, where the tallest peak Mount Everest reigns supreme, oxygen is scare (about a third of that available at sea level), and life is rare. Mount Everest is tall enough to poke into the ‘jet stream’ – which is a high-altitude river of wind that blows at speeds of more than 200 miles an hour.
If we were at that height, our exposed flesh would freeze instantly. Kerosene can’t burn here, helicopters can’t fly here. Yet, flocks of bar-headed geese – the world’s highest altitude migrants – fly from their winter feeding grounds in the lowlands of India through the Himalayan Range, directly above Everest, on their way to the nesting grounds in Tibet. Then, every fall, these magnificently brave birds retrace their route to India. What’s more, it is believed that with just a little help from the tailwinds, they may be able to cover the one-way trip – more than 1,000 miles – in a single day. Wow! If a 5-pounds, 2-feet-high bird with the ability to fly over 50 miles an hour can show that kind of spunk, we don’t need to wait for December 2012 to justify our lack of life or ‘flight’ this year.
The bar-headed geese’s awesome engineering defies logic, but then, so does our existence. We don’t do much to keep our world alive. Our natural instincts have been practically scraped off our souls through the years, and our intrinsic oneness with nature leaves us bashful at best. Only when our materialistic existence is threatened by a trauma or loss, or if we perceive that our life with all its New Year resolutions continues to remain imperfect, we worry about other ‘bigger ideas’ like World Hunger, Doomsday, and Big Boss Season 5 being rigged.
So, here’s to 2012, whether it is ending or not with a cosmic bang, live the high life. Take flight!