Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ground Zero

We arrived in New York after an uneventful flight from Dallas. After checking into the hotel and a few minutes to get our bearings, it was down to the subway for a trip to Ground Zero. Many images from September 11, 2001 are still vivid in my mind. All of them are of the immediate aftermath of the loss of the World Trade Center. I really had no idea what I would see today.

The streets that had been dark tombs in the early days after 9/11 look normal now. It is not until you get right up to the spot (or as close as you are allowed to get) that the devastation is still evident. Wire fences separate the spacebetween what is and what was.

As I peered through the square mesh, I was struck by how odd it is to see that much sky from any street in the city. There is definitely a void that left me with an eerie feeling. It is not the present state of the area that is responsible for this feeling, but the experience of what was. To be honest, all that surrounds this spot now is represented by a feeling of great hope. Progress is happening though nothing has been forgotten. Huge images of the aftermath hang on the barriers - amazing photography of horrifying times.
St. Paul's chapel, which served as a place of physical and spiritual respite for those working, stands behind the previous image. It is a working parish in that Mass is celebrated here,but the more important work is the shrine to all those who have been touched by the events of 9/11. Its walls are lined with pictures, gifts and tokens left by loved ones of those lost. It is a capsule of the love that does exist in this world.
This is the empty skyline taken from the churchyard of St. Paul's Chapel.

Here are pictures of the cots that were used for a few minutes of rest by the volunteers. Notice the hand knit afghan (though it is on wrong side out).

One has to be a much better writer than me to fully articulate the emotions that flowed while visiting these places. It is really one of those "you had to be there" moments.
On a happier note, we went to see Mary Poppins this evening. I was not terribly excited about seeing this shoe; I was not a fan of the movie and have never read the book. Technically it was an awesome show. This is not to say that the performance was not good - it was, but the set and technical elements were amazing. There was much flying about. I think the casting of Mary Poppins had more to do with finding someone who did not have a fear of heights rather than someone who can act or sing. In this case, she had it all.
Though the flow of the show was a little disjointed, the message was clear. Simply stated, it was that we should all believe in dreams; believe that anything is possible. The juxtaposition of this message with the emotions of the afternoon left me with much whirling around in my head. It is all still spinning around. Perhaps I should have waited to write this, but I didn't. I now have a few days to let everything settle.
It is late and I am having problems with my computer so I will quit now. Hopefully I will write before 1:30 am tomorrow and there will then be a hope of more coherent thoughts. Thanks for sticking with me.