I had thought about pulling Lauren out of school today and trying to attend a memorial in the city, but the idea of going into the city with my two kids was a little scary for me. I thought I might make my morning walk longer, but I found that walking this morning, catching my clock at 8:43 AM, that I remember those details just too vividly...walking down 8th Avenue to work, noticing people were stopped and pointing up. Looking up, finally. Ducking into the coffee shop, smelling their dark roast. They were listening to 1010WINS, and they were just announcing the second plane hit as I paid for my morning cup. I went outside into the little alcove where I would sip my coffee and smoke a cigarette, looking at a grotesque hole in the North Tower, with flames leaping out and smoke billowing. The atmosphere on the streets was becoming panicked, and I retreated to the silence of my office - I was the first one in always. My phone was ringing as I sat down, it was my mother, and then Alec. The phones were gone pretty much directly after that with all of the circuits either jammed or gone.
Today, I walked to church to sit on this bench under a weeping willow, but with the construction on our church grounds, the bench is not there right now. I sat on another bench with Lindsay, watching squirrels gathering acorns, birds bathing in nearby mud puddles. Lindsay gathered sticks from the ground (in her bare feet) and tried to put them back on a nearby bush.
I tried to focus on how much life we've lived in those 7 years, as I looked at the big muddy construction site due to be housing for a family transitioning out of a homeless shelter, the beginnings of our church's community garden planted so that we could provide our town's food pantry with fresh vegetables, and what will eventually be a prayer garden. It's not much now, but it is brewing hope. A promise of what will be.
September 11 didn't shatter my hope. My hope was already shattered then. It stomped on broken bits. Things couldn't be the same after that. Many of my coworkers left New York City shortly after that, never to return. I ended up closer. Six months after that, I took a job on Chambers Street, two blocks away from where those buildings once stood.
For today, I will try to carry on, maybe not business as usual as life around me seems, but with some semblance of profound gratitude and hope.