Get back to work, back to work, back to updating this page. Ok, I will. But first, I have to record this, for my own sake, anyway. On September 10, I was in a cottage on Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Actually we were on a peninsula of the Upper Peninsula, which means we were on the last tip of U.S. territory before Canada. It was the end of summer but the place felt like it was still recovering from winter — damp, 50 degrees, windy… and the wet gravel roads, log cabins and snow plow markers added to the impression that it’d just been thawed. I was staying with Tara, Brendan and Jon in Tara’s family cabin, which sits on the lake. Leaving her back door is stepping into another world. The lake laps up on the mossy rocks, and all you can see is the deep blue water for miles and miles. We devoted our days to exploring forests and canoeing the bay, coming home to cook dinner and lay a fire before falling asleep to the sound of the waves. Sounds idyllic, but of course, I wasn’t satisfied. See, I’d just arrived at school for the first time in almost a year, and I was pretty unsure about my decision to leave the next day for Michigan. But I went anyway, and ended up wanting to be back at school. (Why would I ever want to be where I actually am? Come now.) So I was silently counting the hours until we could get back to school.
On September 11, I woke up to Brendan knocking on Tara’s door next door. He said, “A plane just flew into the World Trade Center and it’s gone.” And I thought it was a jokey way to get someone’s attention so they’d get out of bed. But no. Between frantic phone calls we spent the rest of the day at the T.V. (luckily we had cable), and took breaks to canoe on the bay, in the surreal quiet of the lake. I walked outside that night and looked up, seeing the whole sky and knowing not a plane was flying.
I keep thinking of that Chicago Tribune column by Mary Schmich…. It’s no use worrying about the future. The real problems are the ones that blindside us on some idle Tuesday.