The Millennial Spinner

Do you remember the pessimism and angst surrounding New Year’s Day, 2000? How all the computers on earth were going to crash, businesses were going to crumble, ballistic missiles were going to go rogue, and who knows what else?

Photo by Joe Coca.

I was incredibly fortunate to be one of a small number of foreigners to spend that New Year’s Eve at Machu Picchu in the Peruvian highlands. I was with some family and a dear friend and ethnobotanist, Jim Duke. It was magical. We felt our way into the ruins by candle light with our Quechua guides and made prayers and coca leaf offerings to Pacha Mama, the earth mother. Small groups of local decendants of the Incas gathered among the ruins to perform their own rites and ceremonies. There was such a sense of peace, serenity, and balance.

The next morning, our concern was, “Will the planes know what year it is? Are the airlines running on time? Are they all up there in the stratosphere crashing into each other?” And smaller worries: had our watches and computers reset correctly? Do we really know what time it is?

Traveling back to Cusco, we saw women walking their flocks to pasture, swinging their spindles as they went. As we fretted, they spun. They had no watches. They had the sun.

I recalled this when I noticed that we are issuing the year 2000 volume of SpinOff in electronic format. I don’t know whether to think of this as a disconnect or a convenience. It’s both, really. You can think of magazines on CD as a way to reduce clutter and save trees. You can think of it as a little weird. You can take the CD and make a spindle of it. However you think of it, spinning is a way to balance your own world—don’t you think?

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