Monday, September 11, 2006

9.11.01: Finding hope at the greenmarket

Today marks the five-year anniversary of 9-11. I have no story of valor, courage or heroics, nor do I have a story of loss. Save for my friends who decided to leave New York City after the disaster, I didn’t lose anyone. My story is only one of witness—I was here that day and observed unimaginable events. I did not see the towers on fire except on TV screens, which I’m thankful for considering how shook up I was by just the aftermath alone. But I did see other things: I saw the huge black cloud filled with debris hover over downtown for several days, its presence filling the skyline where the towers once dominated; I saw the missing posters multiply by the thousands until almost every outdoor surface was shrouded with people’s desperate pleas; I saw while walking home from work that day, crowds of people somberly shuffling uptown, covered in dust, their faces shadowed in dazed disbelief at what they had escaped; I saw hundreds of gurneys and medics waiting outside of St. Vincent’s Hospital for the victims who never arrived; I saw strangers huddling in silent groups, trying to make sense of what was happening; I saw an armed-service population immediately sprout all over the city, waiting with huge guns for the next big disaster; and I saw a city forever changed, no longer living in naive bliss.

Most of my photos from those days are of missing posters, sad faces, and that ominous black cloud—all that was left of the World Trade Center. These are images I don’t want to look at. But as I was going through my photo album recently, I saw some lovely greenmarket shots sandwiched between all the ugliness. I remembered that on the Saturday after 9-11, I wandered over to Union Square, and there was an oasis of normalcy—people selling pretty produce from their farms, people shopping for fresh food to make dinner, and it all seemed so peaceful, so sane, so familiar, so pre 9-11. I took some pictures,





and they looked like all my other greenmarket shots. It was a salvation, finding the familiar in this new topsy-turvy world. Then as I was heading home, I found this:

This image ended up being a reminder to me that life goes on and there still is plenty of good in this crazy, violent world if you look for it. And it made me thankful for all that I have, which is a lot more than most of the world. So I still have hope that someday we can all live in peace.

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4 comments:

melissa mcgee said...

there really are no words. i just want to say thank you.

god bless.

Michael said...

really great post

christine said...

Perfect words, perfect photos. Thanks.

Tuba Slim said...

Hope and human decency spring eternal, like weeds from an asphalt-caked urban moonscape. No matter how inhospitable the environment or how we try to choke them out, the wind carries the seeds and somehow, they always come back.

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