Thursday, September 11, 2008

The sky was blue on September 12th, too

Like so many other people this week, I found myself lost in thoughts of seven years ago, remembering. Indulge me as I take a detour from the tone of my normal postings, and reflect on where I was this week in 2001...

Do you remember how blue the sky was? All along the east coast, it was a stunningly clear day, bright and clean, and a welcome reprieve from the summer. A perfect fall day. Normal, everyday, happy. Until.

Until the phone call from my husband that sent me to the television, and we saw the second plane hit. You know the story from there. We all do. The phone lines were jammed; the news, stammered by reporters as stunned as we were, became an instant addiction. The world tilted for me as the pentagon was hit, then as the impossible happened--the towers fell. I was convinced then that more terrible things really could happen, and would keep happening.

Anxiety, not a stranger to me on any day, was overwhelming that afternoon. The day was wrongly beautiful. The sky, eerily silent and empty of any planes, was sharp with blue and cloudless, yet the birds and crickets continued to sing, the sun continued blithely across the sky. Lines from Auden's poem, Funeral Blues, kept popping into my mind:

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

The sky was perfectly clear on September 12th, too. And I was, admittedly, at a safe remove. I was near Washington DC at the time, but not in it. But "safe" was something I wouldn't feel for a long time. The low drone of fighter jets crossing the sky all night woke me for weeks, and comfort eluded me for much longer.

2974 people died in those attacks that day, and our world did indeed tilt off its comfortable axis. Peace to their souls and their families...

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