Closing thoughts, 2011: “Markers”

               The end of this month marks the third year that I have been posting to this blog. This forum has given me a unique and unparalleled opportunity to exercise one of the skills I treasure most, which is writing. When I am not writing here, I’m writing somewhere else (other blogs, my journal, poetry sites, etc.). But this blog has given a special kind of focus, as I approach each post from the perspective of an educator seeking to share something worthwhile with an audience of teachers and, hopefully, students.

              The end of this year marks the end of what was a rough year for me personally, as many loved ones suffered losses to death. I lost my father-in-law and an uncle. A close friend from college lost his mother, and my best friend since childhood lost his father-in-law. It was an awful year of loss, especially since all four deaths came rather suddenly. None had experienced hospital stays longer than a couple of weeks in the last year, although all four were in various stages of compromised health dealing with conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.

              Needless to say, the losses have provided me much to contemplate lately; the meaning of our lives, the marks we leave behind. The funerals have given me an unfortunate reason to reconnect with many people I love, but hadn’t seen in years. Very few looked anything like their Facebook photos. This past year had me dressed in black too often, had me hurting in more ways than one on too many days.

              As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, I have been also been dealing with a painful pinched nerve and hope to have that resolved in the New Year. That’s one reason I am looking forward to ushering in 2011. It also marks my eighth year at Haverhill High School, and traditionally we’d give each other a gift of bronze or pottery (it feels like we’re married).

              One thing 2011 doesn’t mark is the start of a new decade. Technically speaking the first decade of the 2000’s ended in 2009, so we’re already moving along in the second decade of this once imaginary future. You have to understand, for those of us who are older than a minute, the year 2000 was the fantastic far off future in our childhoods ….  filled with personal jet packs, flying cars, sentient robot servants and cities on the moon. Needless to say, I am a little disappointed to find myself in the second year of the second decade of the 2000s without any of these predicted goodies.

              2011 does mark the beginning of the first wave of Baby Boomers who turn 65, much to their own dismay and surprise. March 18, 2011, marks the first time the spacecraft Messenger will begin orbiting Mercury for our closest look ever at the hot little planet. The second most populated country, India, will complete it’s 15th census in 2011, giving us a better picture of who the people of this rising nation are. July 10, 2011 will mark Neptune’s first complete orbit around the sun, since it was first discovered in 1846 … that’s 165 years to make one trip around the sun. Sometime in 2011 will be the last flight of the space shuttle, marking the end of an era that began in 1981 with the launch of Columbia. One group believes that the end of the world will happen on October 21, 2011. (In my opinion they should have chosen a cool date that’s also a palindrome like 11/02/2011).

             Of course it’s only 2011 for those of us who use the Gregorian reform calendar. According to the Hebrew calendar it’ll be the year 5771-5772. The Islamic calendar marks the upcoming year as 1432-1433. According to the Byzantine calendar, the world was created on August 31, 5508 BC so this upcoming year is 7,520.

             Regardless of what calendar you use, 2011 will mark the 519th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in Hispaniola, the 404th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown, the 235th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the 146th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, and the 66th anniversary of the end of World War II.

             No matter how we measure it, time is that elusive fourth dimension … simple to experience, but difficult to explain. In my own life, there have been moments that have acted as markers. Some have a special date attached to them like a wedding anniversary or the birth of my children. The majority of my most important experiences, however, are like the memories of a first kiss or a really great meal: vague impressions and flashes that create a story I can retell. Some time next year, the earth will carry me around my starting point for a 44th trip around our marvelous little star. I’m sure I’ll find something to write about, as life continues leaving its mark.

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope 2011 is a great year.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.

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About htwilson

born in brooklyn, raised in queens, massachusetts, that's where I be.
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