Like most Americans, I remember where I was on September 11, 2001. I remember the drive to work, the clear blue skies, and the order of things. I had just finished facilitating a conference call and one of the participants casually mentioned a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Her name was Diana; she said “it was probably just a prop plane.”
Earlier in 2001, before September, I had become a “provisional” member of the Junior League of Boston. In retrospect, it was a strange intersection of people, places, and things for me.
Sometimes, it seems like none of it ever happened.
Late last week, humidity moved in and made it seem quite warm. A fog settled over this part of Maine on Saturday night; Handy and I noticed it on our drive home from Rockland. We stopped at Moody’s Diner and shared a piece of pie like it was 1949.
The fog and damp hung on through the night and during church on Sunday, the sky grew dark. After the congregation finished the old Protestant classic “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” sounding as powerful as it must have sounded almost 500 years ago, it began to rain.
It rained steadily until noon, but by 3:00 p.m., the sky had cleared and the humidity’s oppression vanished. It was good weather for moonflowers and morning glories and deep red tomatoes on the vine.
That was the order of things fifteen years later.
It’s our generation’s equivalent of knowing where you were when Kennedy caught a couple. And everywhere one turned this weekend there was someone bloviating of how it brought us all together, how we have never been closer than we were in the weeks following the destruction of the towers.
Which is wickedly deceptive. A democracy is never “together,” never falls in line behind a leader or party, but is always raucous, squawking, quarrelsome, full of rhetoric and argument and not a lot of compromise and a whole lot of division as one hair-splitting group breaks away from another. That didn’t get us into any fifteen-year old wars, did it, lining up blindly in our oneness?
Meanwhile, humidity, pies, diners, moonflowers and tomatoes are personal and real, nothing to fake about unity and togetherness.
That’s an interesting perspective, the false narrative of “unity.” Thanks for adding it to the order of things.