September 11


My small dorm room window at Juilliard looked south. I remember that much of the fall of that first year the city had two lights for the twin towers. Two lights straining skyward. And standing in front of my window they seemed so close, as if I could reach my arms the full length before me and touch them.

Looking south one was always aware of the absence. Of that bit of sky that went missing.

When the trees are in full bloom the only part of Manhattan I can see from my small Brooklyn apartment is the Freedom Tower. And I happen to think it is a beautiful building. I think its imperfect lines and the texture of the glass--how it reflects the changing blue of the sky--those things amount to something quite special. Suddenly, and all at once, it feels as though this building can be seen from anywhere in the city, or just over the river, as it were. And when the day is gray and hazy and the clouds are hanging low it disappears right up into them. Like it's got one foot in this world and one foot in the next. Like it's holy. Built on sacred ground. A living bit of history.

We move forward, but we honor the past. We honor those who lost their lives that day, and we honor the people we were then, so different from who we are today. People changed by the blue of that September sky. Forged by the attempt to build. Again. To make something true and good that no building, beautiful as it may be, will ever do justice.