Monday, September 11, 2006

On this day

I'm amazed at how this day is always bright and sunny, warm sunshine and cool air. It was a gorgeous day on Sept. 11, 2001, the rays from the sun soft and soothing, the air crisp with the hint of fall.

The next year, I remember, was the same. Eerily the same, the weather almost a carbon copy of what it was one year earlier. And so it was today. I don't remember the three years in between, but I think at least one other 9/11 anniversary had this same kind of weather.

I'm not sure what it says about this day, this memory. I just know that, when I stop to think about it, I can remember just about every thought, feeling and emotion that came flooding in so quickly and unexpectedly five years ago. The air even smells the same when the breeze blows right. Not like smoke or any acrid, horrible scent, but the sweet smell of a mid-September day.

I was ambitious today, working out early and making a list of what I had to get done before work, heading out of the house before lunch to tackle some errands. On the drive home, I was heading down the switchback hill of Route 5 and looked over to my left and saw the flag billowing in the breeze. In nearly five years of living in Bergen County and admiring this huge Stars and Stripes that flies 24/7 (with lights), I'd never visited it up close.

Before heading home, I turned to go to the park. I nearly had it to myself, except for one woman walking a circuit on the paths and two people sitting on a bench by the Hudson River. I took some pictures as I approached the flag, I stood in its shadow to let the sun backlight it. I listened to its deep, low flapping as the wind snapped it like a whip.

After pausing on a bench and admiring the George Washington Bridge and its little red lighthouse, I walked back to the car, stopping by the 9/11 memorial and anniversary wreath and then taking a few minutes to look up into the trees to try to find the camoflauged parrots who were squawking back and forth between branches.

Other than the birds, it was quiet. Thankfully, this quiet wasn't too eerie.

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