Friday, September 11, 2009


Eight years is a very very long time. September 11th eight years ago, for me, like for all Americans, was a milestone. We expected a different world after that.

Now, looking back, nearly all the changes that occurred both in my own life and in the life of the country have taken me by complete surprise. My days now are stunningly different than they were then (and the country, too, has moved in stunningly unforeseen directions). What does that say about life…

Eight years ago, I was about to set out with a small group from the old neighborhood for six day trip to France. I’m sure all of us remember the wait to board the plane on September 17th – it was one of the first flights to cross the Atlantic after a complete cessation of air travel. A very quiet wait. Do with us what you want, we were thinking, only get us there safely.

Safety was almost as big a word then (the safety of children living on the east coast, the safety of others in various parts of the world) as shovel-ready and big government appear to be today. Each year brings in a new vocabulary of concerns. And they’re always very local, very personal. And loud. And intense. As if no one has worried about any of this before we thought of it. Understandable, I suppose.

Tonight, I’m cooking dinner for people whom I have neglected for far too long. Indeed, one of the big changes in my life is that I cannot remember when I last cooked for someone other than Ed or my daughters.

So I’m thinking maybe the next two, three, eight years will still be different. Maybe I’ll write more, maybe. Tonight, I’m just fussing with food though. And opening a bottle of wine that I bought in September, eight years ago.