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Last night we went out to dinner to celebrate my daughter's birthday. She turned seven yesterday. And, seven years ago today, the World Trade Center fell down. I can so clearly remember watching it collapse from a hospital bed in San Diego, with my new baby in my arms. Her birth will always be tied, by simple chronology, to that terrible event. But, for some reason, this year the cumulative memory is particularly vivid.
Yesterday was one of those preternaturally beautiful days. The sky seemed almost too blue; the clouds like they'd been painted on. I was awestruck every time I glanced at the horizon. We walked out of the restaurant, last night, and stared at an eerily beautiful sunset, that left me spellbound for several moments. It was one of those days that made me want to believe in the indelibity of nature. Perhaps it was that very sense of beautiful unreality that most made me long for a sense of permanence.
As we drove home last night, along a remote country road, I saw them again. Those flashes in the sky that look like lightening... but aren't. Those flickers of light that I can only describe as small ruptures in reality itself.
Flicking in and out of my thoughts, for days, now, is a dream I had, some years ago. A couple of years before 9/11, actually. I dreamt that the horizon was dissolving. I was looking at the Manhattan skyline and it was melting away, like film overheated on a projector. It was melting off a frame and leaving nothing but the whiteness of an empty screen. It was all over the news. The city was disappearing... and the disappearance was spreading. I was planning on heading west, to get my sister, in Colorado. I knew that the nothingness would eventually reach there. It would consume the entire planet, but I wanted to be with my family, before everything ceased to be. I realized, later that day, that I'd been dreaming of Atlantis. It was both memory and premonition.
Listen. Listen very carefully and you can hear the sound of something cracking.