Monday, September 11, 2006


Nine Eleven

Thoughts about today: I've got 'em, in spite of the ubiquitous and relentless mainstream media sledgehammer. Five years ago today I saw Ryan off to Boston, and headed down east to hike for the day, alone. It was still my first year in the bookshop and I felt a bit guilty about taking a weekday off (I no longer have this problem), but it was one of those perfect high clear blue days of fall and the leaves were starting to turn and I couldn't stay indoors. I listened to a cd in the car on the long trip down Route Nine, and as I turned off Nine to head for the coast the cd ended and the radio came on. It was just after nine o'clock in the morning. Ryan had left at five a.m. for Boston. I stopped the car and thought about what I should be doing, right now, if the world was ending (it wasn't, but who could say, that day). I had no way to reach Ryan. I have relatives in NYC and I had no way to reach them either. After a few minutes I decided to keep going. Washington County, Maine, the easternmost county in the U.S.A. and a place of extreme rural wildness - my spiritual home, where I grew up, and a fine place to be on a day such as this, if there wasn't anything I could do elsewhere but wait and feel helpless. Also, I didn't want to be in a city that day, and Bangor is almost a city. So I went to the wildlife preserve that was my original destination, and spent the day alone, walking the trails and stony beaches, looking at eagles and osprey and porcupines, thinking about the impartial beauty of the day, wordlessly praying with every step, feeling myself on the edge of a great change and allowing myself to just be with that feeling, without panic. I had my journal with me, and wrote down some observations. One thought I remember feeling but I don't remember writing down, but I'll write it here: look at your loved ones each day as if it could be the last time you'll ever see them. Tell them you love them, every day, every time they go off to work, or you do, every time they come home, safe. There can never be too much love in the world. We will never run out, we have an endless, regenerating supply which should be extravagantly and liberally given away, daily. I could say more, but I'll leave it there. Because what else is there to say, really.

Nice reflections, Sarah.

My strongest memory, aside from hours of watching tv coverage, is of walking up the street from our house to a park with a magnificent view of Boston, 7 miles away. It was a clear day and the city view was sharp. And the skies were empty except for the fighter jets circling and circling and occasionally roaring overhead (so fast!) on their way back to the base to refuel.

Then a couple nights ago I was relaxing, reading John Mistletoe. Morley was describing his work at the New York Evening Post, with his usual mix of love and humor. I wondered where in the city this was, Vesey Street. I put this into google maps and found it in lower Manhattan, just north of a grey rectangle. Zooming in didn't identify the rectangle and I switched to satellite view to see a picture. And realized I was looking at the rubble of the towers.

Mmmm, Vesey Street - Morley's (slightly) happier version of Grub Street - I always wondered where it was. That's amazing. I wish I could take a tour of Morley's New York (and his Philadelphia). The only problems is, I want to do it in his era, not ours...
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