9.12.2005


Another day.

Its cooler now that summer is passing. The city seems quieter on these weekends as the tourist season dies down for a bit before the holiday rush. The locals are back in town for the weekend - their beach house share-rentals expired on Labor Day, and the frenetic pace of living and working in the city will return with the Monday morning of the first 5-day work-week of the season.

Sports converge as the Giants open up out in the Meadowlands, the Yankees fight Boston for their playoff spot, training for the marathon is in full swing, and tennis is played by the greats out in Queens.

Fireworks go off over the Hudson every Saturday night for the latest festival on the riverfront. The boardwalks and parks are crowded with people happy not to be behind a desk for the moment.

There was one solitary leaf on the sidewalk on the way home from church this afternoon. It wouldn't have even been noticed but for the sound when it was trampled.

Fall begins again in New York, just like it always does, just like it always will, for as long as time allows.

But things are still different here.

Cops look in your bag on your way to work. People nervously eyed those with luggage on their way to the office before the long weekend. In the airports you try to read but find yourself sizing up every person getting on the same plane as you and wonder if you would have the courage to do what it takes, should you have to.

And there's still a certain tourist attraction downtown that you won't take your friends to when they come to town for a visit.

On the first anniversary, I remember standing in my office, across the street from Penn Station. I was standing in a conference room, staring at a live news feed, and had just heard the city be quiet for one complete minute. And then I saw something I'll never forget.

The first victim's wife made her way from the bottom of the ramp towards the circle in the middle of the grey valley. It was windy that day, and dust whipped up from the ground in twists, as if to push her away. She tilted her head forward and stepped into the swirling grit that had once been the building that her husband went to work in that hated morning.

And then the wind changed directions.

Growing up, I was told that the wind was angels rushing by us on their way to do God's work. I still believe it.

I watched as the wind changed direction and slowly blew her hair out in front of her, as it ruffled her skirt towards the circle she walked towards. The angels walked with her as she stepped towards the void and laid down her flowers. There was no dust, only the silent rush of air, as she let them go.

And then thousands of others followed her.

Today is the day we remember. Today is the day we will never forget.

2 comments:

Margy said...

I still believe that about the wind and angels too. Always have.

83princess said...

Good post. Very moving.
You are a good writer.