UP BEAR CREEK | An Appropriate Timeline for A North American Calendar
by Art Goodtimes
Oct 12, 2013 | 2092 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print

CALENDAR UPDATE … For years I’ve been trying to find an appropriate timeline for our species’ arrival in the New World to calculate a North American calendar … The Gregorian calendar of the European tradition, derived from the Graeco-Roman Julian calendar, seems totally Old World and irrelevant to any clear biologically based system of dating. Even though it’s become a world standard. As a deep ecologist, I demand something science-based, not beholden to the Judeo-Christian tradition of Europe via the Middle East … Not long ago I finished reading J. Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man (1973), a dazzling scan of “the human condition within nature,” but misguided in its hierarchical vision of humanity as the pinnacle of creation. Like Dolores LaChapelle, I see our species embedded in the web of life, not dangling above it. I want a calendar that, while recognizing the human place in the story of Earth, gives a better sense of our true timeline in this place … But my attempts at setting a firm date for the first step of an immigrant of our species on to Turtle Island have been stumbling. The archaeological record keeps changing. Physical evidence seemed to only point to 12,500 BP (Before the Present). But speculation and theories had put that date thousands of years further back into the Pleistocene, anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 BP … Recently, I had glomped on to the Mayan Calendar and had used a 26,000 year astronomical cycle, deduced by the Mayans, leaning as it did towards the high end within the speculative range. But a new Science News article caught my eye last month (Sept. 21 issue). An Italian study of mitochondrial DNA from living populations published in August suggests that humans migrated into the Americas in three distinct waves – a coastal migratory wave from Siberia, 15,000 to 18,000 BP; an interior Rocky Mountain migration, using the Berengian land bridge, from 10,000 to 14,000 BP (with the melting of the Laurentian ice sheets) and a move of native peoples from Alaska into northern Canada and Greenland around 4,000 BP … So, I’m changing my Ancient American Calendar (AAC) from 26013 to 18013. That’s the upper range of the new DNA study, and it reflects the oldest likely best-guess date for humans’ primal footprints in the Americas. I use the millennial end numbers of the Gregorian calendar year to make it easy to correlate with the AAC. So, 2013 (Christian Era) becomes 18013 (AAC) … Although still just an eyelash flick in the multi-billion year geologic history of the planet, eighteen thousand years better reflects for me our human timeline on this continent.


SPEAKING OF HISTORY … Years ago I visited Dr. Mark Stiger at what’s now Western State Colorado University to see what he called the Tenderfoot site. We’d worked together for several years on the state Historical Advisory Fund grant review committee. My long interest in anthropology had me fascinated with stories of some new theories that Mark had been championing, based upon discoveries he’d made … Finally, just this past week, I finished Mark’s book, Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology of the Colorado High Country (2001). It doesn’t include info on what Mark now believes is the oldest habitation site in North America, or the fact that the Gunnison area was what I like to call the Mesa Verde of Archaic peoples (7450 to 4950 BP) … But it gives a wonderful review of perspectives about the archaeological record in Colorado’s mountainous regions and fascinating information about the flow of peoples through the region, the environmental changes that occurred and the artifacts that have been uncovered and what they mean about those that lived here before us … Highly recommended.


LOCAVORE ALERT … Durango is far, but not as far as Denver and beyond, where most our food gets shipped from. And San Miguel and La Plata County are both connected in Edible San Juans as part of a specific agricultural region. But you ought to check out Turtle Lake Refuge’s Acorn Nori Chips – to die for! … Shroomfest goddess Katrina Blair runs the food and land preservation operation. It’s dedicated to the production and promotion of raw foods. All of us have tried eating raw foods at some point – some were OK, and some were just plain inedible. But Katrina has mastered the art of concocting raw food recipes that are nutritious, delicious and raw … It blows me away. I can’t wait to order a whole case of Acorn Nori Chips … 970/247-8395.





-for Anne Carson


I’m bee-stung with desire

for the ancient Greeks

the ancient Chinese


those primal cultures

of the written word who

invented the mellifluous


honeypot of poetry

from which all wisdom

oozes (if not springs)


Hail the sticky clumps

of genius & happenstance

that seep, sensual, into verse


as inked script for sounds

as moiré glyphs for voice

for singing us into shape


Make me an arrow

Let me fly, unstrung

Let me sing, unsung


I’m winged & abuzz with

the calligraphy of love

Losing Self in the Other


the Beloved 

the One whom we lack

who will make us whole


I melt, undone by want

& once grasped, done in

by what’s won

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