Pageantry and Pomp are alive and well, but lurking in the background of the gaiety is a new level of fear and national anguish over terrorism and what appears to be the beginnings of a new form of warfare for which none of our defensive armaments is being effective.
The old Fascism, newly-disguised as a less harmful Narcissism, is becoming more evident with each day, and it's hiding within a kind of super-religiosity born of zealots of many Eastern and Western faiths practicing a dangerous extremism that threatens us all.
Much of it appears to be long-ignored responses to Colonialism that continues under new guises, but that can probably be traced back to paternalistic dominance over thousands of years of what we've accepted as "Civilization," but which is now being rightfully questioned by much of the developing world.
I'm not at all certain that it won't be a relief to expect to take my place among the missing -- not too far into the future. Mortality is less frightening now than when I was much younger. Can't imagine non-existence. Maybe that fact alone provides a buffer against fear. But -- nonetheless -- it is now a natural expectation after a life that feels relatively fulfilled.
It surely isn't that the world hasn't been under great threat over past millenia, but the planetary dangers now evident will need far wiser generations than mine in order to survive into another century. On the other hand, the current generation has developed technological answers that mine could never have imagined. Today's science may hold many of the answers that the planet must have in order to save the world as we know it, for all its inhabitants.
It begins to appear that overcoming human selfishness and greed may prove to be an even greater challenge than ISIS.
Nature may not be looking into a finite future after all. The scientists may yet be capable of borrowing time through new discoveries about the nature of the evolving Universe. But it will be a race against Time, and Time waits for no man or woman.
Will Life continue to unfold in totally unanticipated ways, or, will mine settle into a more predictable and reasonably sane tomorrow? And -- is that what I really want to see? I think not. Having lived my entire life in a constant state of surprise, why on earth would I want anything else in these declining years?
Hope the top of the crescendo has not been what this year brought ... .
... but then, there's always tomorrow ... .