by pieces of moments
In New York City the other night as my former roommate and I ambled through Washington Square Park, we looked up to see the Twin Towers commemorative lights standing sentinel over all of lower Manhattan. Like everyone old enough, I remember exactly where I was the moment I heard what was happening.
Every year this date rolls around it reminds me not only of the literal dark cloud that formed in the sky and in our national consciousness, but also reminds me of the brevity of life. It reminds me to live life to the very marrow, to love with fierce and reckless abandon; countering all the desperation, sadness, and dinginess is a penetrating beauty, if you look for it.
One year, as I returned to college after a long winter break, I was riding the ‘L’ through a thoroughly urban gray neighborhood – the kind of environment that seems to say to you “we’re just concentrating on survival.” The gray feeling seeped into me and I felt a sudden panic of what it must be like to be surrounded by such pragmatic aesthetics. Then it happened. My eyes alighted upon a sign hung in a window that shown out like a little glittering light house to keep me from crashing into the Shores of Total Despair. In riotous, silver, craft glitter on a big strip of cardboard were these two words: “FIND BEAUTY.”
So, on this day of ugly memories, we offer our continued sympathies for lives that will never be the same. And for those who go on – find beauty. Life is too short.
“We have gone through sorrow and joy
hand in hand;
Now we can rest from our wandering
above the quiet land.
Around us, the valleys bow;
the air is growing darker.
Just two skylarks soar upwards
dreamily into the fragrant air.
Come close to me, and let them flutter.
Soon it will be time for sleep.
Let us not lose our way
in this solitude.
O vast, tranquil peace,
so deep at sunset!
How weary we are of wandering—
Is this perhaps death?”