Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of 9/11. As I read about the event at the site of the towers, I could see that the designers of the new site have not constructed a monument as much as a place of remembrance.
Mr. Bloomberg was reported as saying, “I always thought the best memorial for anybody is to build a better world in their memory,” he said. “I’m a believer in the future, not the past. I can’t do anything about the past.”
It quietly reminded me of the sugar maple that my husband and I planted 40 years ago in our yard. We watched it grow over the years and then succumb to a fungus that was slowly strangling it to death. We found we had to have it cut down to end its struggle along with our sadness as we watched it slowly die.
The tree was planted to shade that part of the house from the late afternoon sun. It did its job well. That part of the house was always cooler, and in the autumn, the striking color of its leaves was appreciated by the entire neighborhood.
The day it came down, I went to the window just as the huge trunk began to tilt. I couldn’t watch it fall all the way. I turned with tears in my eyes as my tree so carefully planted disappeared.
After the tree was down and carted off, I went out to visit the empty place where it had reigned so magnificently. It was indeed empty now. But then I raised my eyes and realized that there was now an open expanse of sky visible – brilliant and full of energy that would feed this small part of the earth now revealed. I remember welcoming the sky that was now visible. It felt right to celebrate this new opening of possibilities.
When the towers came down, there was a new opening to the sky there as well. As I thought about the anniversay, I realized that void is now filled with promise of the future so long as we see it as filled with possibilities. Remembrance is important and essential, but the new possibilities are as well.