Sunday, September 11, 2011


Some incidents stick in your mind and heart, even when they don't directly affect you personally. For some, certain dates bring up anxieties and emotions buried just beneath the surface of daily life. For others, it could be a major earthquake or tsunami or hurricane or tornado. You never really know when or why or which events will stir up something deep within you, they just happen to strike a chord, and that chord resonates throughout your very being.

When a large truck rumbles by and rattles the windows, or I'm stuck in traffic under a freeway overpass, it sparks a flashback to October 1989 and a collapsed double-decker freeway in Oakland, while at home in San Francisco my husband and children and I huddled in a doorway riding out the 7.2 earthquake that caused it.

Watching coverage of Barack Obama wading into crowds of people during the last presidential campaign, my heart leapt into my throat more than once at the dangers he faced. It launched an emotional  return to 1968 and the tragedies of the deaths of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. 

I can no longer hear a plane flying low overhead without it triggering a memory of that warm September morning ten years ago, of the sight of airplanes cutting through clear blue New York skies to shatter so many lives. How, for the next week, the skies all across the country were eerily quiet while all air traffic was suspended.

Flashbacks are painful, yes, but they serve as reminders to savor and appreciate the good in the world, and the importance of working to change the bad stuff, however we can in our daily lives.

We wish that we could go back and prevent those tragedies, but we can't. The only hope is to move forward with renewed purpose and optimism, and to never forget those who gave up everything for those principals.


Aunt Snow said...

It is very hard to remember. For me, one triggering device is a beautiful crisp fall day - how beautiful that day was, back in 2001.

Carmi said...

I keep reminding myself that it's up to us to find happy triggers to accompany the sad ones. It's the only way I cope with the often overwhelming sadness this universe seems to throw at us.

Thank you for the timely reminder.