It's cool and rainy in our corner of New England today. Six years ago on another Tuesday the air was crisp and the sky a brilliant blue. Junior was just a wee fellow, and we had been up for quite a while when a friend called to tell us what was happening in New York. "Was it an accident?" I remember asking. I turned on the TV briefly, then shut it off. But too late to block the terrible images.
Later I heard the news over the radio that the second tower had fallen. People called all day long to check on us as we are not far from the city. Many friends commute daily into New York for work. Many still live there. Our little family was fine. The people we know who worked in and went to school downtown got out safely. Maybe they're telling their stories of that day right now; maybe they're not.
In the afternoon Junior and I went down to the beach. I looked up at the beautiful blue sky, which was empty of air traffic. Junior played at the playground. I couldn't quit looking up, even as I walked, and actually slammed my head on the monkey bars by mistake. When I lived in New York, I used the World Trade Center towers to orient me on my walks, on exits from the subway, any time I needed a quick check of direction. So did everybody else.
Usually we see a lot of planes here, particularly at night. We're on the flight path from JFK to Europe. We often mistake the aircraft lights for stars. For, what was it, a week?, we saw only the moon and the real stars.
In memory of all the voices that were silenced that day, I'll look up tonight and feel grateful for the twinkling lights. If it's still cloudy, I'll do it tomorrow. It's not much.