On The Last Night Of The World

Another year in America is wrapping up into another Happy New Year. Yes, as Americans it is our duty to be happy. Despite 2016’s congestion of lingering crises, our national DNA has been programmed for happy sunrises not harrowing sunsets.

And yet, the fact is our species has been thinking about sunsets and the end of the world almost from the moment we became conscious there was a world. Not a constant thought, but surely one that has squirmed inside us whenever nature outside us has unleashed another of its terrors. Is this when it all ends? when I am suddenly consumed? when everything I have and hold is taken away? Humanity has never really stopped grappling with these thoughts, although in our hi-tech age we have a thousand and one diversions to muffle their sting.

Except in the silence of the nights.

When the sun is gone, when the diversions have been unplugged, when the universe seems to be silent and asleep, apocalyptic thoughts can seep into our mind. Only the most brave or most blind of us are immune. Every instinct tells us if there be a beginning, there must be an ending.

How we deal with that instinct depends upon our belief-system. Upon our deepest, willing-to-die-for beliefs. In God? nation? family? nature? But if that is the how question, what of the where question? On the last night of the world, where will we choose to be?

There is of course the fabled — Rome, Athens, the Holy Land. Or perhaps the stirring — the Himalaya’s, the Alps, the Pyramids, Stonebridge.

But then there is the quotidian, the everyday, the spot nearest your heart and your feet. That spot is sure to be the best of all. Now as another year ends, it wouldn’t be entirely out of place to give it some thought. Where would you stand fixed and firm in the face of some finality? With family…? with neighbor…? with country…? Yes, yes, and yes.

Wherever the new year may take us, may it find us ready to prevail….

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