Writing About This Rather Than That (9/11)

September 11, 2011

I have an idea for a 9/11 essay, but will wait until after the event to write it.

In the media ramp-up to the anniversary, I am on 9/11 overload.

Perhaps not as much as my NYC brothers and sisters, or the survivors, or the families of the victims or other WTC alumni. The mixture of overwhelming sorrow, rawness, and anger has not diminished in the past decade. Maybe that’s what anniversaries are for.  To grieve, celebrate, and gather energy.

And it’s not that I am uncaring or disconnected. I grew up in NYC. I watched the Towers being built. I took a special pride in getting a job with the Port Authority after graduate school and working in the World Trade Center. I have a deep sense of personal loss around the madness of that day.

But between unsubstantiated, yet credible terror alerts and endless media reports built around commemorating this horrible event – we are inundated. Every conceivable story, from every conceivable angle. Mine will wait a few more days.

So I was pleased to receive an email containing a few images from a friend – Roy Corral – who lives up in Alaska, and graciously allowed me to include them here.

They remind me of a American place opposite Manhattan’s canyons.

It is sometimes hard to remember Denali National Park, Alaska exists and that you can physically be there from anywhere in the world in a day or so.

Many years ago, I lived in Alaska, and tent camped with Roy in place and time that rival this.

There is a world outside the screen and the news cycle. Outside the agendas and the spin. Outside the politics and the stuff we all slog through every day. It is our individual choice where we spend our days.

While you and I were enjoying barbeque on Labor Day – Roy was in Denali – what used to be called Mt. McKinley – camping and shooting pictures.

Can fall be lovelier anywhere else (except perhaps where YOU are… right now?).

Fall feels different here in Chicago, than in NYC or in LA or in Denali National Park. There is little we can do about its coming or that winter will follow, sure as the sun will rise tomorrow.

By the way, Roy caught an image of  a local who strikes fear in the hearts of people, way up there on the last frontier.

I don’t think politics or religious zealotry is this guy’s motive (see image below).  He is motivated solely by having enough of the basics – food safety and shelter.  And maybe that is the root of all politics?

Anyway this grizzly is unpredictable, and random.  Certainly disruptive and behavior altering. And when you are tent camping – he is always on your mind.

Roy hasn’t named this shot yet… but I call it…. He Knows When You Are Sleeping.

The colors this time of year are incredible all over the great state of Alaska. The tundra appears on fire when the sun hits it just so.

As they always have, the animals roam free.

People are the ones who are restricted.

And in Denali, because it is post tourist season… it is less like an amusement park and more like a shrine.

A place to feel the breath of mother nature.

For me, I will try to tackle my take on 9/11 next week.

For now… fall, on the Tundra…

And a 9/11 a prayer for peace and harmony. Amongst all peoples. Amongst people and nature.

As the bumper sticker says – COEXIST.



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