10 Years Later
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. — Wendell Berry
I never really know how this tragic anniversary is going to affect me. I avoided all media as usual. I awoke at 3AM from a nightmare that was obviously related, and with it, a pain in my side that I could not decipher if it was real or dreamed.
In the dream I was looking out the window at stars, and a meteor shower, when everything changed. Suddenly there were 2 huge space ships and an overwhelming sense of terror. Then I found myself in my old neighborhood, Battery Park City. The sky was dark. Everything was gray. I was being stopped at a check point and there were people in white hazmat suits walking around. I couldn't figure out what was going on, but that sense of dread was all too familiar...then I woke up.
As I opened my eyes I realized that my brain turned the jets into spaceships to soften the blow. The darkness and the gray was that surreal dust cloud that enveloped us. The hazmats, the checkpoint were all images from the days and months that followed the massacre. I laid there in bed, in the darkness for quite sometime but the feeling of dread did not lift so I got up and tiptoed downstairs. I sat in my studio listening to the crickets for 2 hours, then wrote a letter to "Anxiety" before going back to bed.
I forget about you every year until this day. I can deal with the nightmares, but this misplaced dread has got to go. I'm going to the mountains today, DON'T FOLLOW ME!
In the morning we drove to the mountains because we all agree that we feel incredibly peaceful there. Satch calls it, "The Sacred Mountains". We sat on a rocky outcropping on a 3500 ft summit. As I sat there on that mountain filling my eyes with beauty indescribable, I was reminded once again of how lucky I am to be alive. There remains, to this day, a gasp that comes with the knowing...that I was lucky. This blessing wears a sharp edge of sadness for the others. And I wondered, if I live my life with intention, is that tantamount to honoring those that are no longer able to live theirs?
Later, we hiked to the bottom of a 70 ft waterfall. Somewhere along the way we crossed paths with a huge black bear who thankfully was uninterested in us and sauntered down to the creek for a drink. By the time we hiked back up to the parking area, I felt the grip of that horrific day 10 years ago loosen a bit. I felt I could breathe a bit deeper.