Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eleven years and counting

Over the years, I have learned one thing: perfect beauty will break your heart.

I woke this morning to the sun shining in my window, not a cloud nor contrail in the sky, a gentle breeze lightly lofting the curtain.   It was a perfect morning.

That was why I wept.

Last year, on the tenth anniversary of the most horrific moment in Twenty-first Century America, it rained on my town. As the saying goes, "Jesus wept." I did not.

The morning of the attacks upon the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the crash of United Flight 93, this country had no clouds at all in its sky. It seemed anything was possible, everything was young and new and exciting.  We were in a new century at last, and our economy was just showing signs of coming around, after the dot-com bubble burst and recession had left our confidence wavering.  We were just starting to feel good about ourselves, again.

I, too, had just come back home, after long years wandering the Wilderness.

The leaves were not even starting to turn colors on the maple trees in my yard. It was still summer, and it was still lovely, even as it began to wind down.

I opened my eyes that day to the brilliant morning, and the sound of a voice on the television, saying, "Oh, my God, oh, my God!" The colors, the sights, the sounds will be with me, now, for all the remaining days of my life.  Hearing my own little city's emergency warning signal horn at mid-morning at first brought terror, then laughter to my mother and me, as we realized the siren was nothing but the already-scheduled test of the system. That dolorous cry from the rooftop of city hall has helped to shape my mood every Tuesday since then.

My family were lucky – we lost nobody close to us.  But all lost something.  I saw the innocence and idealism which our nation had worked so hard to recover, ripped and burned away in an instant, leaving chaos, confusion, frustration, rage, and, above all, sorrow, to fill the void.

 When it is grey and miserable, outside, I feel the loss far less.  Raindrops cascading from the eaves allow me to believe, briefly, that the universe may not, after all, be indifferent to humanity and our pain. "Jesus wept." The heavens opened up and sent healing, soothing waters upon the earth.

The perfect day serves as a reminder that heartbreak means nothing before the winds. Life goes on, whether we will it to or not.

I will do as others have done: I will rise each day, and give thanks for all the loved ones I still have around me.  I will be grateful that I have a shelter from the storms.  I will look forward to new things, hope to meet new friends.

But I will remember, and I will weep on perfect mornings.

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