Monday, January 2, 2012

The year of the apocalypse

The Potomac at sunset on New Years Day, 2012.

I can't believe it's 2012. Back in my Peace Corps days, circa 2007, I had a conversation with my site-mate about the Maya calendar and the coming end of the long-count calendar. Or as the rest of the world has now come to know it, THE END OF THE WORLD. We discussed coming back to our tiny Maya village in December 2012 to celebrate the impending apocalypse from the top of one our local pyramids, but 2012 seemed so far away, and neither of us could have imagined what life would look like in 2012.


Here's hoping I won't need an emergency exit in 2012


Five years later, my former PC site-mate and I have ditched our chacos (and chaco tans) for the fast-paced D.C. life. He as a press secretary for a Senator on Capitol Hill and me as a policy analyst in the Executive branch. We often talk about how far we've come, but it's even more exciting to think about, on this second day of the year, where we might go from here. I really don't do New Year's resolutions, but I do like to set generally high expectations for myself for the coming year, and this one is no exception.

So in 2012, despite the impending doom, I am optimistic and full of hope that things will fall into place just as they are supposed to do. I will be a student again, intent on learning a new language not just because it has the potential to alter my job path (though that's great motivation), but because I enjoy learning for the sake of learning. And with any luck, I may get to start a new career. Though if at the end of 2012 I'm still where I'm at right now, I would still count myself as fortunate. I don't know if I will make it down to Belize to sit on a temple next December, but I do hope to travel to a new place or two. And I'm sure I'll continue to have great adventures with my amazing friends.

This new year was kicked off by a hike at Great Falls Park, a beautiful spot on the Potomac River just outside of the District. The weather wavered between clear skies and rain, but scrambling over the rocks along the raging river was still a perfect break from city life. Even when it started raining pretty hard, other hikers were still smiling and happy to be outside, reminding me of the Seattle rain smile, the knowing silent exchange between walkers/bikers/hikers in the PNW that happens when both parties are soaking wet but still happy to be in the great outdoors. Our walk was rewarded when we reached the Great Falls viewing platform right before sunset, the sky to the west exploding in pinks, reds, and violets, and a rainbow forming to the east. If there ever was a good oman for a new year, this was it. I can't imagine anything more spectacular.


Walking along the C&O canal




Potomac river near Great Falls

Sunset, looking from Maryland to Virginia at Great Falls