It was just one week ago – today - that I wandered thru and past and around the site we know as ‘Ground Zero’. It was only a few short hours before we all heard that the mastermind of this disaster – had been finally..and at last put to rest.
It wasn’t my first visit to the place. It was 6 years ago – the last time I was there. One enormous gaping empty hole…was all that remained. It was – for me - like visiting a mass grave. Not so different than those that I’d heard of in eastern Europe..and in the deepest darkest Africa. Somber and immensely sad..it overwhelmed. That a horror such as this – where so many innocent people died - happened here…in this country - was and still is incomprehensible.
That was 6 years ago. Today – the hole is no longer. Today – it is in the midst of being reconstructed. New structure is emerging from the debris…and a memorial – rays and beams of hope and light – will be completed by 9-11-2011..ten years following.
Life goes on.
We all know exactly where we were..what we were doing when it happened. I heard it first on my car radio. It sounded more like a ‘test of the emergency broadcast system’ than anything remotely close to real. The first plane had hit. There was a second..and a third..and confusion and chaos and lots and lots of noise. Impossible. It just couldn’t be true. Inconceivable…really.
My kids remember it as a day that their crazy mother (along with many others..I may add) showed up during that all important first week of school…summoned them out of their classes..brought them home. Safe. It wasn’t until we were all present and accounted for...watching the events unfold over and over and over again – that the enormity sunk in. The world as we knew it – had ended. The sense of – perhaps – false security we’d been living...shattered. Our innocence..lost.
During my most recent and last weekend’s visit to the city..and much farther uptown – I came across this little boy. Happily – playing with bubbles. Chasing them down. Trying to capture them in the palms of his little hands. Five years old – he proudly proclaimed – and almost finished kindergarten.
Born ‘after’ the historic event…growing up only in its shadow. Carefree and full of life. A mere child. He knows nothing..nor should he. We all hope and wish – that he may never.
Someday – I’m sure - he’ll study and learn about it in history books. As if this happened in a different life…a different time. Perhaps – he’ll come to understand the circumstances better than we ever will. Perhaps – he’ll never understand it at all…because it’s all too incomprehensible. Defying rational…logical explanation. That there is so much hate in this world. That anything like this could ever in anyone’s lifetime – occur.
Couldn’t help but think of this past weekend's contrasts. From the solemnity of Ground Zero..to the frivolity of Central Park.
After returning home..I awakened the following morning to the news. Once and again - a sense of disbelief...and then relief. Closure…at last. An end of an era. A new beginning. A fresh start.
For one quick instant – he managed to catch that bubble he’d been pursuing. To hold on to it. To feel - in his hands - its weightlessness. And then – in the next..it was gone. Just like that – it popped and disappeared into the spring sunshine. All laughter and light and joyous sweet innocent giggles.
Yes - life does go on.