Saturday, September 11, 2004

In Memory of 9/11

This is something I wrote about a month after September 11, 2001.

This is an autumn in a neglected garden. The earth has shifted on its axis, the sun has turned its gaze away for a moment and blood has rained on the earth. Gardens have been forgotten.

But nature is not only cruelty. It is also life and compassion and time moves on without blinking an eye. My garden has grown while I have been somewhere far away, not caring or caring too much, and when I return my tortured mind still finds respite in its depths, in its astonishing, contradictory jungle. The last roses dangle from their branches, below them the grass is covered with the inexplicable riches that nature gives the smallest rose petal, the faint memory of all that scent with its thousands of little memories about lips and skin and lily heads heavily leaning against the night still hovers in the crisper air. Bipolar wall flowers blossom in every crack and crevice, ignoring the wrong time of the year for this feast and rogue wood tobaccos that I didn't have the heart to weed out earlier now tower over me; their white flowers staring at me with concern, their enormous leaves whispering: "Are you all right?"

I am not all right. Someone I knew was weeded out young, will never come home, will never be all right again. But the garden is still the place where it seems possible that one day the world will heal even these wounds, that new life will grow out all this senseless death, too. Nature demands that things will be all right again, maybe not soon, maybe not for some time, but ultimately, spring will come again.

This does not seem possible. Winter will be endless this year, I fear. Violence has cast its seeds and these will breed more violence, more showers of hatred. Garden after garden must die or grow nothing but fear.

But nature doesn't listen to me. She has other plans, and maybe she knows better. Maybe.

I have planted spring bulbs today. Just in case. Just in case life returns.

Nature knew better, of course, but this is certainly a time I don't want to live again, ever.