The turn into a new millennium is just five months away, and some people are getting nervous about what will happen as this 1,000 years passes away.
Will our computers crash, leaving us without water to drink, food to eat, air to breathe, toilets to flush? Will our houses all disappear?
But seriously, some people are quite concerned about the millennium, and we should not put them down.
What if you were dependent upon a computer, for instance, to control the flow of air into a respirator that helped you breathe, or a dialysis machine that helped clean your blood? What if you owned computers that controlled the doors to your store -- can't open them if the computer says no and can't close them until the computer says goodnight.
OK, those worries could cause anyone some distress, and it's not funny.
But what about the last solar eclipse of the millennium? Is that as serious a topic? Experts say the last eclipse of this century (that is, if you agree the millennium change is on New Year's Eve 1999, not 2000) will occur on Aug. 11.
Some people are saying this celestial event will be the most energetic moment in the turning of the millennium. Can you believe this?
I mean, if you are at a holy site in Tibet with the Dalai Lama and his monks at 11:59 p.m. this New Year's Eve, the energy at that moment would be nothing compared to the eclipse expected in August?
And what kind of cosmic energy are they talking about? Will the earth shake? Will trees split in two? Will people spontaneously weep? Will more babies be conceived on that day?
Ira Gordon, a fellow here in the Midwest who organizes celebrations around natural phenomena, says this eclipse will not be visible in the United States. But he also says that doesn't mean the earth won't be dancing with cosmic energy and that somehow a heavenly vibe won't be mixed in somewhere, giving this particular event a special glow.
Gordon, a former philosophy teacher who now gives people astrological readings, hopes his treasured horoscopes give people a leg up on a special path of life. He and his helpers have pulled together about 35 performers, actors and musicians, and at 6:09 a.m. on Aug. 11 -- with no solar eclipse visible -- will begin a celebration to remember "that change is possible."
"The idea is that something is happening and we'll just be sharing common expectations and goals," Gordon said.
Don't doubt these people. They may have the secret.
Perhaps a busload of dreamers and wonderers will be sitting in the Springview area of Carver Park in Hennepin County, Minn., early that morning with Gordon. They'll be entertained by dancers, singers, horn players and fiddlers -- all manner of human energy pleading with a cosmic force to show us a new way through life.
That can't be all bad. Why would we complain?
Sister Virginia, a Benedictine sister in St. Paul, Minn., will be on Gordon's bus that morning. She says her goal is to be thinking about the "wonderment of the creation and a sensing -- an awareness that God's creation is always evolving."
The sister says that if people need a focus, Psalm 148 will help. It should make them aware of the opening and closing of a millennium.
"Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host! Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!" --Psalm 148 1999,
Saint Paul Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.).