That “back to school” energy I normally experience each September was hijacked eleven years ago, along with two planes that flew into the World Trade Center. As the anniversary approaches, a veil falls and I slow down to a point where all I can do is be. Tuning into thoughts and feelings and muscle memory that have formed a gauze-like patch over the wound, I find myself, ironically, fully present.
At 10:28 a.m., the time that the second tower collapsed, anniversaries have been spent in various places over the past decade. Often in my garden, I found solace weeding and transplanting. Once I was helping a blind woman find her way out of a rest room at Grand Central. A few years ago I was sitting on a bench in the spiritual community of Lilydale, NY, listening to an impromptu lute player who joined me and asked if I minded that she played. She had no idea of the time or what it meant to me. Last year, on the tenth anniversary, I had my special invitation to participate at the memorial service, the reading of the names, the major event. It was my first time there. As I stood and waited, watching the area fill with smiling people, people who also had moved on after losing those dear to them, I grew increasing aware that this was not the place I was meant to be. I struggled past barricades and closed streets to get out, probably the only person to do so. Once free, I headed the short blocks to the East River and started walking north.
The sun grew higher as my heart grew lighter. I experienced miracles and magic, seemingly mundane but I knew better. With each step, I was in each moment, as fully as I’d ever been. 10:28 a.m. was just one of them.