Friday, September 11, 2009

840. Eight Years

I sat down this morning to finish another post, and realized that today was a day to share different memories. This op-ed in the NY Times says it best:

After the Storms, an Island of Calm — and Resilience

An excerpt:

This week, in fact, brings another anniversary, one that took place 400 years ago and underscores the manifold ways in which Manhattan renews itself.

In September 1609, the beach near the tip of the island was surrounded by thickly wooded hills. Passenger pigeons flew overhead; porpoises hunted in the harbor. Around 600 Native Americans lived on the island. And they were the ones who, on Sept. 12, must have watched as a European, Henry Hudson, guided his small wooden ship into the Muhheakantuck (later Hudson’s) River, cleaving the waters with the narrow prow of history that would one day create New York City in its wake. ...

... There is a process in ecology called succession — the orderly advance of ecosystems from one state to another. There are moments of terror and unfathomable destruction, and then stability returns and life takes hold again, often with a firmer grip. This applies, of course, both to nature and to human society. As Jane Jacobs wrote, “Lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration.” Resilience is a hallmark of any successful system, whether for a forest, a wetland or a city.

Today, we honor the memory of all that was lost and sacrificed on 9/11. But in thinking back 400 years, in imagining the Lower Manhattan of the distant past, we can join that memory to another realization: that we, and the world we live in, have a remarkable capacity to recover and renew.


Eight years. The number eight in Judaism signifies beginnings, promises: the covenant of brit milah on the eighth day of life, the day after the seventh day of rest, when we begin the week anew. May this eighth year continue to mark the renewal of life and peace for this city, these people, and the community of all of us on the earth.

(Here's a post I wrote three years ago about the events of my life on 9/11/01.)

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