New York City
10/11/2001When I think about those days now,
I see a dark street in some continuous midnight.
A man in a tuxedo carrying a cello from Carnegie Hall.
The sound of a sonata behind closed doors.
A Goya by a mansion's staircase, a Shakespeare folio under glass.
A flickering television in the apartment across from my 12th floor hotel window.
Only then, do I see why I was there and where I walked an entire November night—the gaping Ground Zero gash that was once the World Trade Center. The expected images have faded, mercifully if slowly, the images everyone knows without having to go there, the ones we'll always see. But the unexpected, what the mind chooses to hold on to and where the soul finds itself again, can be a lasting surprise.
I came to Manhattan a month after 9/11 to write a book with a crisis chaplain I'd never met. At 11:30 p.m., he walked into the hotel lobby in full blue tactical uniform, introduced himself, then led me immediately to the subway. Read More