It’s funny how on a day like today when the sun is shining with such brilliance that the jonquils pop out, perky as children, gleaming with a creamy smoothness, grouped together like old friends, that something – the way a cloud passes momentarily over the sun, a lonely dog barking softly, someone two doors down listening to O mio bambino caro – fills you with such sadness that you could stand in the sunlit garden that seems a place where only happiness could live, and weep.

It’s a day for remembering – the horror, the tragedy, the sorrow. The day everyone now refers to as 9/11. Nothing more. A brief, almost dismissive appellation that means so much.

I was watching a documentary last night  on 9/11. It covered the brave work of the emergency response units and the even braver number of people trapped in the buildings who showed their mettle as leaders, making lightning decisions, saving lives, sometimes at the loss of their own. These are the people who should be remembered along with those who fell, these are the people who have made it possible to view the day with sorrow but also with hope.

Line of thought form, like loose streamers blowing in the breeze. I think of the atrocities in Georgia, Darfur, Myanmar and I wonder will our descendants living in a more enlightened age two hundred years from now bow their heads and say :’ They just didn’t get it, did they?’

And I also wonder that if our world leaders went to war as they did in the Middle Ages, would we have to endure as much atrocity as we do now. George W Bush riding out like Richard the Lionheart? I don’t think so.

In further lines of connectedness I realise I know a man who lost a relative as a result of the attack on the World Trade Center. A man sitting in his office, talking on the phone who was incinerated when the first plane hit. How do the people left behind make sense of that?

I met a taxi driver yesterday from Iraq who has lost ten family members in two years. I met an African refugee at the medical centre who knew she would probably never see her family again, that, in fact, they all might have been shot just for being who they are.

Lineations burst outward, buoyant, crossing the land and the sea and the sky. We all know someone affected by war or terrorism or atrocity. We all know someone whose thoughts sit sluggish in their heads as a result of fear for the future or the grief of the past. May all those people, on the day where we remember the fallen and the ones left behind, at some point in their lives find peace.

21 thoughts on “Lineations

  1. You know it’s kind of…funny, but tonight I FINALLY caught on to why I’ve been feeling blue and off kilter. Maybe I’m not watching enough TV or reading the newspapers (I’m avoiding the political mess we have right now), and missed the announcements.

    I do fear for our future generations, and right now I worry that there won’t be any. The old saying should be changed to: The meek will inherit what’s left of the earth.

    Very powerful piece, Selma. I do love the images of the jonquils meeting as old friends. But it is strange what will remind us, those distant noises that bring silence closer.

    Thank you for remembering.


  2. I watched the towers fall when I was living in Sydney. It affected me.
    Tonight I watched as there was nary a mention of the passing of so many lives. Was it just the New Zealand media that ignored, or … hell I don’t know. I’m annoyed. I hate the fact that I feel.


  3. KAREN – it is odd, isn’t it? You can feel completely fine and then something will happen which reminds you of something else and your mood shifts. Sometimes I hate to read or listen to the news but then I also hate to miss out on what’s going on. Hope you are feeling a little better!

    SIMILAR SIMIAN – there was very little coverage in Sydney either. I remember watching it on the news too. I thought it was a scene from a movie at first. Sometimes I hate to feel too. Whatever happened to the good old days of spending every night in the pub and then just passing out till morning. I was too hungover to feel. 😀


  4. I hear ya. I think I remember those days in Darlinghurst…

    Been watchin the Rolling Stones film ‘Shine A Light’… volume turned aaaaalllllll the way up.

    Housemates hate me


  5. That day was certainly a blight on the human landscape and effected me very deeply. I cannot even imagine how hard it must have been for anyone in America coming to terms with such a tragedy. It had such an air of unreality about it perhaps because it happened somewhere so far away. It never stopped me feeling the loss of all the thousands of people effected by that one act of evil that forever changed the world. I hope they have all managed to find some peace too Selma. Bless you for writing this 😦


  6. oops Selma I started responding and realised my thoughts were far too long for a comment- they’ll have to move to my blog.

    Thanks for your lovely writing.


  7. Amen to your wise words Selma.

    May we never forget and also continue to honor all the people who worked so hard after this tragedy happened. I just recently saw a doc. on the toxic legacy of 911 and all the ill effects that rescue workers are now facing. The suffering continues….


  8. I was working for a Muslim boss when it happened. We had many very deep discussions about the implications and the history. I’d never heard of bin Laden back then; it was a real eye-opener to hear about his family’s relationships with the Bush family.


  9. SIMILAR SIMIAN – a Stones fan, eh? Now we’re friends for life…..

    BRITT – it is one of those paradoxes of life. The sun can come up in part of the world and there is joy. And it can come up somewhere else and there is sorrow. We all know it goes on but sometimes the memory of one devastating event brings it all to the fore. You are right – it is truly bizarre.

    GYPSY – I wont’ ever forget seeing those towers go down. My God – it was devastating. I cannot imagine what the people who were actually there must have thought. A terrible, terrible event.

    lAURI – well I will certainly come over and read that post. Such a sad event that has affected all of us in so many ways.

    GERALDINE – I know. The aftereffects are appalling. Who would’ve thought all the rescuers would become so ill? Oh, it’s awful. I saw a doco on that too. Heartbreaking.

    MELEAH – I don’t know how you have managed to cope with it. You must have felt like it was the end of the world. God Bless you and all your family. XXX

    PAISLEY – that is my fervent prayer. We must always remember the fallen. Always.

    NAT – They very well might. Scary thought that our generation might be judged in the future for our actions and that we might come off looking badly.


  10. A marvellous piece, Selma. It was a terrible, iconic day, and I watched it unfold on the TV. I’m ex-forces and had constant threats of terrorism to deal with, and I have family in the forces now, on the front line, almost constantly.
    I was not immediately affected by 9/11, but it was a day that will be with me and my family for a long time to come.


  11. DAOINE – that would have been an eye-opener, indeed. I wasn’t too knowledgeable about bin Laden at the time, either. I hope your boss didn’t experience too much fall out as a result.

    ANTHONY – having served in the forces I am sure you have a much more in-depth perspective about terrorist threats than the rest of us do. I am not surprised you were so affected. I hope your family members serving in the forces remain safe and well.


  12. This is what I chose to write my Slice of Life about. I was very melancholy yesterday… Maybe I shouldn’t have. eh. It’s done.

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts – I think it’s appropriate to remember.


  13. TEXASBLU – sorry you were sad. Sometimes it can make us feel melancholy thinking or writing about tragic things but it can also make us determined that things should change. Take care.


  14. I haven’t commented on any of the memorial posts for 9/11 because…I just…its too difficult for me to comprehend it all, still.

    Your post is replete with compassion for all of those, throughout the planet, who have experienced the various atrocities that have pumelled their experience of life.

    Thank you for your deeply felt and beautifully written words.


  15. EPIPHANY – it is really hard to know what to say. I was reading a post the other day written by a man who’d lost his friends and his partner in the rescue mission. What can you say that sounds adequate under those circumstances? It is heartbreaking.


  16. Thank you for writing this, Selma. I was living on Long Island, just outside of NYC when the towers fell. I agree that the searing agony has been reduced to a rather meaningless phrase. It reminds me that in Judaism we don’t write/say the word G-d because it is too huge to name. I still don’t have words to describe my feelings or the general feeling in New York. I’ll never forget driving into the city three weeks later, and seeing the gaping emptiness where the buildings towered. I still have trouble understanding what it means.


  17. CAROLINE – gaping emptiness is such an apt way of putting it. I can imagine how traumatic it must have been when you first drove into the city. The disbelief would have been overwhelming. Even I, so far away, feel it.


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