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December 20, 2012
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12.21.12: Welcoming a new age to Grand Junction & the world

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -Dec. 21, 2012, the end-date of the Mayan calendar, arrived today in the cold, early morning of the Winter Solstice. And though some doomsday theorists claim today marks earth's ultimate destruction, GJFP staffers are hoping for something a little different - a better harvest, healthy weight loss, more precipitation, happiness for our children and grandchildren, even improved communication with our mothers. Because what is the end of the Mayan calendar, really? After lots of reading and chatting, we think the Maya's end-date is more about the world entering into a new phase of life, much like what happens on New Year's Day every year ... only bigger."Dec. 21, 2012, is a very significant date," Josh Berman, a Colorado-based travel writer, said. "But ignore anything that has to do with the end of the world." It's more about the end of one cycle and the start of the next, Berman said. "Don't go out and buy a gas mask," he added. "Buy plane tickets, and learn about the Mayan culture. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."Berman - who recently wrote a unique travel guide, "Moon Belize and Maya 2012: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize & Honduras" - has some unique plans of his own for 12.21.12. He said he'll celebrate the next cycle from an ancient location in Mesoamerica. Right now, if everything goes accordingly, he is in a remote jungle location after landing Belize.There, "I'll be ringing in the new b'aktun, which is the name of the cycle," he said.Today was never meant to be the apocalyptic climax of earth, however."Modern-day Maya just laugh at that concept," Museum of Western Colorado Executive Director Mike Perry said.Perry, who enjoys traveling throughout Mesoamerica as a travel organizer and guide with the local museum, also noted that today is only supposed to mark a change, not the end.And many experts, along with Berman, seem to agree with that mode of thinking."Most, but not all, academics and Maya scholars acknowledge that the Maya Long Count does indeed have an end-date that correlates to Dec. 21, 2012," Berman wrote in his blog, "The Tranquilo Traveler." "Except that it's not an 'end-date' and the Maya never said anything about a 2012 apocalypse. The date just played into their number games - not far, in fact, from that cartoon with the Maya scribe, chisel in hand, who runs out of space on the tablet and says, 'That'll freak somebody out some day.'"Even so, 2012 has long inspired books and movies with no shortage of interest from a global market.Grand Junction's own Crystal Books and Gifts owner Cheryl Lucas said, "We've been open 25 years and we've sold Mayan calendars and books that long.""Consumers feel that the end isn't near," Lucas noted, "but it's a shift in thought and belief."

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The Post Independent Updated Dec 20, 2012 03:32PM Published Dec 20, 2012 03:29PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.