Friday, September 11, 2009

(Immediate soundtrack: Alexi Murdoch's Dream About Flying)

Yesterday, while sitting at the edge of the lake where it meets the river, and the sea (really great lake) wall, too, spotted a small reddish plane slowly wending from north to south.
Immediate memory shifted to the fore, another plane, about two decades ago.
A friend had an idea, one that Yours Truly did not completely admire, the friend's plan, not the friend, of picnicking during an air show.
An air show is so never a thing that YT needs to see.
There was a child-era rocket-fuelled showing of jets down in Georgia where YT spent all of her warm-weather months in and around Atlanta, Marietta, Smyrna and the like. This was probably enough, a single air showing of bridled aerospace power and gall.

But then the air show of two decades ago, recalled in a silent powerful flash.

There we sat on a thin stretch of grass, facing the lake, along with hundreds of other watchers.
We picnicked out of a basket, on a blanket.
YT had an uneasiness, and kept reminding the alongside pal of this, that people die at these events.

And then.

We watched as a small airplane went nose down into the lake. Silently straight into the water, and then large pieces of the plane, split apart, separating and falling individually into the water.
There was gasping, a collective disbelief, and then the scanning of the skies just above this breakage to see if, perchance, the pilot had just done a ridiculous and expensive stunt, wrecking a plane for some deconstructive expression, hanging over the proceedings in a parachute, poised for a watery landing.
But no, this was a public and tragic death, witnessed by hundreds on a sunny afternoon, who then traipsed silent and shocked to cars parked far away as more people were coming into the park for the air show that had ended with Coast Guard boats looking for a lone survivor.

And, of course, being literate as well as image-ridden, said to my friend I told you people die at these events.

This day of infamy, of unfading tragic anniversary when things crashed and then stood very still.
Yours Truly was watching Henry, TonyC's dog, and TonyC was stuck on the west coast of the USA for an extra week, trying to wrangle a rental vehicle to come back as flights were strangled to a halt.
Besides watching Henry, and spoiling him, was watching the morning news on 9/11 as I spoke to a colleague.
YT believed that what I was watching was an anniversary for the World Trade Center bombing a long time ago, when terrorists pulled into the parking ramp with explosives. When Elba and her officemates and thousands more were brought by the Red Cross to the rooftop, before walking miles back down to the street.
And YT called her while she was on the rooftop and she assured me that she was alright.
But that was winter.
And the image on the television was sunny, like the day that we were in.
A crisply-lit autumn day.
It was, and as me and my colleague watched the news and the image of the burning tower in our respective homes the second plane hit.
I was 400 or so miles away, in the heart of the Middling City but everyone reached out to one another.
It became important to connect with those who are loved in the Shiney Apple - immediately.
To hear their stories.
The first time I flew to the Shiney Apple post-9/11 was about a month or so after, to see and stay with Dorota in the happy loft on Broome, and our pilot took us over the WTC site, dipping the plane so that we had a phenomenal view of the pit that was left.
That first day back, YT bought the ring that reads Compassion.
A constant reminder, it is hoped, to carry Love, Compassion, Wish.

Reminder, Love.