Today was September 11th. Not a highly unusual day in my house. Met my instructor at the gym for an hour, taught a couple cello lessons, listened to a little Ravel and Milhaud. Scrolled through the Facebook Feed; saw the memorials.
But, this time, I noticed the absence of attention, from all those too young to remember.
I don’t know what really happened on September 11th, 2001. For every photo, interview, video, and essay, there’s one that counters. Who did it? Why? Where did it all come from? How can we know?
First-hand accounts have been suppressed by the media. Stories have been reconstituted. But, the images remain, and the vaporized lives are still absent from our plane, the one we live in, the one we call reality. The events of that day, for me, have ultimately raised far more questions than answers. And, they are disturbing.
I do know this. The solid ground, the firm foundation that we always thought of as “our America” was never the same again after that day. When I look at anything now, I see through different lenses and, I assure you, they are not rose-colored. They are grey, a half-tone, dusty, like the white ash that covered the faces and bodies of those who made their way toward enough oxygen to enable a safe breath.
Now, I alternate between severe cynicism driven by a compulsion to delve so deeply that my vision, when I emerge, is distorted, and an equally-compelling yearning for my grandmother’s fresh vegetables and the smell of pot roast steeping in her pressure cooker. Mammy was never afraid. She had total faith, in everything that mattered – even the pressure cooker. She moved slowly about in her tiny space, making her little mutters and wiping her fingers on her apron, while the pressure cooker hummed on the burner, it’s flat disc-shaped indicator percolating atop the iron-clad lid. Her world was never infiltrated by demons. She could begin and end her day in prayer, and not one single contaminant could touch her. In her kitchen, there would be no explosions. In her world, there would be no hate. In her mind, there would be only the wisdom of the hour and, in her heart, the words of the verses in the Bible upon which she so completely relied.
Our planet is poised to ignite, with ancient religions flanking us on every side, ready for the ultimate showdown. We are the human genome, in all its manifestations, declaring our individual importances with increasing fervor and rancor. We lockdown our houses, set the alarm, and wait for that which we never dreamed could be possible in our lifetime. And, we reach to the heavens, and try to pray.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 9/11/14
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