Spellbinding Sherry, I am honored to say, is a friend of mine. She shared this piece and blessed my sharing it with you. You can contact her on face book at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spellbinding-Sherry-sacred-readings-art-and-more/101742396960?ref=mf.
Because It Must Be Said
I suppose this is written down, somewhere, in my journals.
I do recall thinking, nine years ago,
that I NEEDED to write, to witness
all which was going on within me,
and around me.
I don't know how much of those thoughts
made it to the pages though.
I was happily relaxed, in Bonnie's yoga class that day.
I knew nothing of any international horrors.
I was probably breathing my life deeply, I later reckoned,
when the first airplane hit the first building in New York City
and then, perhaps, mid-bridge-pose when the second one did so into the other.
After class, I stopped by my friend's house.
As she welcomed me in, my host, Sara, said something
which was entirely strange:"look out for falling planes."
I was perplexed and asked her what she meant.
She, her husband Lou, and her roommate Chris,
all started to tell me, slowly, together,
that the United States was under attack.
As the Vermont Public Radio station
broadcast National Public Radio coverage
in the background of these declarations,
I heard fractured words of a falling skyscraper,
spoken by the voice of a seasoned reporter
who had lost their composure on the air.
I remember my reactions, and my choice of actions.
First, I stood, to leave,
thinking "where is the closest television?
I need to know more!"
Then, nearly as soon as I stood up,
I remembered all I knew
about the televised exposure of tragedy
which impacted a nation during the Vietnam War.
I sat back down, holding my friend close beside me.
I wanted no images.
I was hearing all I need to know, for the time being,
from the news source I most trusted.
Next I struggled with whether or not
to rush to my children's schools
(one, nearby, the other, over the mountain)
to take them home, immediately.
I wanted to hug them,
and to be with them,
but I knew
they were as safe as I
and that I would serve them best, I hoped,
waiting until they returned on their own schedules.
I phoned Bonnie, who I knew
would not have the exposure of media,
and suggested she turn on the radio.
We lived in a community
woven intimately with Manhattan.
Many of the homes in our area
were the second homes of those who resided in the city.
We knew them as longterm friends
who returned to us with seasonal regularity,
or who escaped to the Green Mountains on their weekends.
After sorting out that I would leave the kids at school,
my mind turned to my neighbors,
by which I mean, first, my immediate summer neighbors,
Willa and Jeff, and their kids.
Then it rippled out to other folks
who lived in our towns
but commuted to the city for work.
I wondered where Syd was.
Then, if my landlady, Georgia, who lived in NY, was alright.
I realized that there was no We and They.
We were a fabric of intimacy: those flatlanders
with whom we laughed, and argued at times.
We shared our spaces
like different rooms in the same home.
My brain was spinning.
We smoked green, which calmed us,
but offered no comfort beyond that.
I stepped out into the dooryard
and sat upon the grass.
As if on hallucinagens, I was hyper-aware.
I could hear the stream behind me flowing,
as if nothing was different.
I heard the birds chirping, as if nothing changed.
The grass was greener,
the sky was more blue
than I ever had seen it, before.
Later, I learned what my kids had experienced.
Elias' (k-8) school had chosen to carry on through the day
to the best of their ability,
but he sensed trouble beyond his understanding.
He saw one of his favorite teachers
through the windows
as she inconsolably sobbed in the library.
She was a tough, he knew.
Something, he said, had to be really big
to upset her so much.
Autumn's high school had a livefeed in place
for their own news program's use.
She later said the televisions were on
all over the school, all day.
I was appalled, but stood by my thoughts
that we all go through
what we need to,
to gain the experience of Who we Are.
I had gone to my shop
and sat there, on the computer,
sidestepping the images intentionally.
I reached out, on the computer, to the world,
finding a man who told me he lived in Pakistan.
He cast his own blame (on the World Bank and the Masons).
We discussed our views and experiences with respect.
I also spoke with folks in chat rooms
all over the planet.
We all worked through a sense of shock, together.
When I stepped out to the street that day
I noted how so many of my neighbors,
folks I thought I knew,
had reacted with hatered.
It seemed as if only a few hours had passed
when they were swept up in a wave
of instant patriotism.
Flags were up, everywhere.
It was a specific choice,
that I kept mine
(though it once had been displayed, daily).
I heard hateful words of retaliation,
though we had no target, yet,
upon which to place such a concept.
The ferver frightened me.
When my son was home in my arms
we spoke about what I had learned.
that there were others doing the same,
for the same reasons, all over the world
(and I still believe this was true).
We sang This Land Is Your Land
and America the Beautiful,
though I didnt feel like the Grace of God
was entirely present to anyone, let alone America.
My daughter never allowed me to comfort her
and she offered me none, either.
She was processing in her own private way.
Elias and I lit candles
and set them out in the dooryard.
We prayed together.
I imagined that all of our second homers would flee the city
and that they would swarm Vermont,
where they might feet safer.
My daughter's high school must have felt the same way as I,
since they sent out word
to ask folks to open our homes to our New York neighbors.
Potentially hospitable people signed up as welcoming hosts.
I imagined some of our Fresh-Air (program) kids would come with their families.
I thought there would be people who had lost their loved ones
and their homes, seeking shelter and consolation.
I was wrong.
We were all wrong.
They stayed in New York
to locate their immediate family
and search for their friends,
to dig through rubble,
to repair damaged homes
to feed the folks who were in need of nourishment,
and to sweep the debris off of their balconies and rooftops.
Many of us gained a new respect
for those city dwellers, that day.
On September 12th we moved though the paces.
I tattooed a symbol, sacred to me,
on my left wrist.
I needed, I felt, to recieve my prayer fully,
like a breath in my lungs.
Placing this upon me, helped me to do so.
In every room I entered, for months,
from the video rental store,
to the bank;
from the post office
to a gathering of friends sharing a meal,
there were stories heard.
Literally, each room had hard hitting stories.
EVERY encounter I had
was dressed in an intimate knowledge
of the details of loved ones in the city.
Yes, many were tragic.
Word slowly trickled in of those who died
or were still missing.
What I loved though,
what moved me,
were the stories of survival and compassion.
As each day passed
we heard more of them,
of folks who were always prompt, even early, who ended up missing trains,
of people who never stopped for a cup of coffee, doing so,
of folks who always awakened on time, sleeping through the alarm,
of illness keeping folks home, when they were normally so healthy.
I heard from people who told me
that their sons and daughters had stepped out from the wreckage.
I listened as people spoke of the phone calls recieved, days later,
from people they believed were dead.
While our nation seemed to fan the Fear
and focus on Fury,
I gratefully found seeds of abundant Love, and Courage.
Our neighborhoods took the impact hard.
Aside from the builders, we were without business.
Many places closed their doors, including my own, soonafter.
We simply had no clientelle, anymore.
Few were spending their money.
The balance of the loss, fear and anger
revealed itself to me
as a more friendly and caring interaction,
one person at a time.
Vermonters are often quiet.
A nod, traditionally, was a polite salutation,
but in those times, I found more smiles between us.
I remember a man who was leaving the post office
when I was on my way in.
taking time to exchange kind words,
both of us, in agreement:
we previously had never spoken,
but that since the tragedy of 9/11,
we felt more friendly.
I spoke with another woman
who engaged in esoteric work, similar to my own.
(we both are messengers/ communicators with and for the Dead)
She stayed at St. Paul's for weeks
to take on the many, overwhelmed souls of the Dead
who needed a sense of closure,
giving each one her attention,
until they finally stopped coming.
In all, while so many remember this day
with the heavy hearts of the horror,
I choose to remember it with
my renewed faith in humanity,
enriched love and empowered compassion.
Tell THAT to your children,
who were too young to ask,
or were yet unborn,
when it all happened.
© Spellbinding Sherry
September 11, 2010.