In 2001, on September 11th, with my newborn in my arms, I was pretty emotionally engaged in what was happening in the world. I heard the news on NPR sitting in my car and my first thought was to check on my family. My mother had spent the day picking raspberries with her cell turned off and hadn’t listened to the radio on the drive home. She walked into the door at the end of the day surprised to see me standing in her living room wringing my hands with my dad home from work early, looking ashen. I remember the disconnect between her calm confidence and my own anxiety.
This year I took her lead. I feel as if I checked out of the world for a few days. I am aware that there was talk of 9/11 and I didn’t put myself in a situation where it came up in conversation. Except once. Elizabeth Dallam was in Maryland for a visit and I suggested a visit to an old grave yard on the Proving Grounds, before we realized this of all weekends probably wasn’t the best time for that.
There was a time, for at least two years after 9/11 that I thought of it every single day. So easy to announce now, that I refuse to live in fear, but it is more complicated than that. I feel focused on the life right in front of me. This attack came because the old order of the world is fighting for dear life to hold on to what used to be. I get that. We seem to be struggling with that here too, so we aren’t so different after all. On the drive home this weekend I turned on the radio briefly and heard the lyrics, ” Chains and whips excite me…” sung by a woman. Violence is the old way, I hope, not the human way. I am ready for change and willing to fight for it if it means women will be included in the conversation and power and resources will be more equally shared. This 9/11 I wanted to step into the global struggle by doing my laundry, feeding my children, growing really good food for others, and making art. This isn’t a luxury; it is an act of conviction.