I sit here quietly in the dark of morning and wait for the bells to ring at the local church or on TV or in my heart, as they have on 9/11* every year for most of my children’s lives. A baby born that day is, today, an adult. My children are one and six years older than that and are now elsewhere, in other U.S. cities where the bells will toll as well.
8:46. 9:03. 9:37. 9:59. 10:03. 10:28. It’s coming. It will flood me with emotion. I will stand in the garden that I planted then, and I will cry. Later, I will ride my bike to the Hand of God Tree, which has now mostly fallen into the Chattahoochee River except for just one finger, pointing upward. Always upward. I will pray for guidance on the road ahead as I recommit to this manifesto of intentions I wrote after five weeks of reading The New York Times’ daily Portraits of Grief of those who died that day back when it was all raw, uncharted territory.
Back then, I felt helpless. All I could do was plant one small seed, and then another. And all this (and more) happened, and I am grateful that we tried.
And now, I will not stop believing in a better tomorrow, and the stone-in-the-pond ripple effect of individual and collective action.
I will not stop planting seeds of change, or traveling at a pace where I can look humanity in the face and thus perhaps understand how I can serve our world’s needs better.
I will not stop bearing witness to what I think is wrong and shining a light on it so I am not the lone witness in the darkness.
I will not stop rejecting the gutter of failed imagination**.
I will not stop.
* Here’s the beginning of the preface to my book, Food for My Daughters: what one mom decided to do when the towers fell (and what you can do, too), which was published on the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks eight years ago. Click here to “Look Inside” and read the whole preface, see the table of contents, and order. You may also enjoy the book’s website here. (FYI, one of my favorite bikey stories, title Hallelujeh, is in that book.)
** This poem (and five others) is in my third book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike.
(Note: My second book was Bucket List.)