Letter From Claverack 09 11 2016 Fifteen years later…

It is almost but not quite twilight on the creek.  I am sitting at the table on the deck, looking down on the creek as it reflects back the trees, the fading light of the day, the glint and glimmer of life on the creek.  Far away, I hear a plane, heading toward the Columbia County Airport.  Swathes of sunlight illuminate my neighbor’s yard; the air is coolish and there are hints of fall upon us.

It is September 11, 2016, fifteen years beyond the event that has changed all our lives.

It is a hard day for me.  Not as hard as it would be if I had lost someone in the Towers.  I did not.  At that moment, as many of you know, I was living two blocks north of the evacuation zone.  I will be forever at the corner of West Broadway and Spring Street seeing the aftermath of the catastrophe of the first plane hitting the first tower.  Forever I will be there.  It only takes a moment and I return to that spot.

As the first and second Towers fell, people ran down my street, screaming.  I watched them from my windows.  Late that night, I sat on my bed, never having felt so alone as I did that night, my partner of the time, Al Tripp, stranded but safe on Staten Island, while I listened to the screams of fighter jets overhead.

It seemed that in some way, the world ended that night.  At least that’s the way if felt on Spring Street in SoHo on September 11, 2001.

It is now fifteen years later.  I am living in the house Al and I purchased on the 8th of September, 2001.  We had come to Columbia County looking for a place and found the cottage, the first place we had looked at.  We looked at several others and then decided, as we were filling up the car with gas, we should buy it.  We had a list of thirteen things we wanted.  This place had twelve.

Now, all these years later, I am so grateful to be here.  When Al Tripp and I separated, he suggested we sell the place.  I bought him out as I could not imagine my life without the cottage.  It is and has been and will be my refuge.

And I am grateful we bought it before 9/11 because after then, the Valley became alive with people fleeing New York.  There are several people I know who live here who came after 9/11 and have not returned to the city since.

We have all been changed by 9/11.  It is the horror that looms over our lives.  But a generation is growing up that never knew 9/11.  They only know the world that has grown since then.  This is their reality.  Mine is that I know the before and after.

On this day, I always feel particularly alone.  That day is scoured in my mind.  Al was trapped on Staten Island, where he worked.  I was in Manhattan without him.  Friends encouraged me to join them, which I did.  But as the evening went on, I found myself needing to be in my own space/place.

I walked from 14th Street home.  Arriving there, I sat on the bed, a stunned man, listening to jets overhead.  That is the most visceral moment I have of that day, sitting on my bed and hearing jets overhead and knowing the world would never be the same again.

It is almost but not quite twilight on the creek.  I am sitting at the table on the deck, looking down on the creek as it reflects back the trees, the fading light of the day, the glint and glimmer of life on the creek.  Far away, I hear a plane, heading toward the Columbia County Airport.  Swathes of sunlight illuminate my neighbor’s yard; the air is coolish and there are hints of fall upon us.

It is September 11, 2016, fifteen years beyond the event that has changed all our lives.

It is a hard day for me.  Not as hard as it would be if I had lost someone in the Towers.  I did not.  At that moment, as many of you know, I was living two blocks north of the evacuation zone.  I will be forever at the corner of West Broadway and Spring Street seeing the aftermath of the catastrophe of the first plane hitting the first tower.  Forever I will be there.  It only takes a moment and I return to that spot.

As the first and second Towers fell, people ran down my street, screaming.  I watched them from my windows.  Late that night, I sat on my bed, never having felt so alone as I did that night, my partner of the time, Al Tripp, stranded but safe on Staten Island, while I listened to the screams of fighter jets overhead.

It seemed that in some way, the world ended that night.  At least that’s the way if felt on Spring Street in SoHo on September 11, 2001.

It is now fifteen years later.  I am living in the house Al and I purchased on the 8th of September, 2001.  We had come to Columbia County looking for a place and found the cottage, the first place we had looked at.  We looked at several others and then decided, as we were filling up the car with gas, we should buy it.  We had a list of thirteen things we wanted.  This place had twelve.

Now, all these years later, I am so grateful to be here.  When Al Tripp and I separated, he suggested we sell the place.  I bought him out as I could not imagine my life without the cottage.  It is and has been and will be my refuge.

And I am grateful we bought it before 9/11 because after then, the Valley became alive with people fleeing New York.  There are several people I know who live here who came after 9/11 and have not returned to the city since.

We have all been changed by 9/11.  It is the horror that looms over our lives.  But a generation is growing up that never knew 9/11.  They only know the world that has grown since then.  This is their reality.  Mine is that I know the before and after.

On this day, I always feel particularly alone.  That day is scoured in my mind.  Al was trapped on Staten Island, where he worked.  I was in Manhattan without him.  Friends encouraged me to join them, which I did.  But as the evening went on, I found myself needing to be in my own space/place.

I walked from 14th Street home.  Arriving there, I sat on the bed, a stunned man, listening to jets overhead.  That is the most visceral moment I have of that day, sitting on my bed and hearing jets overhead and knowing the world would never be the same again.

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3 Responses to “Letter From Claverack 09 11 2016 Fifteen years later…”

  1. Clarissa Says:

    A tragic subject matter but your writing is as beautiful as ever. I enjoy these letters enormously.

  2. tombers Says:

    Thank you, Clarissa.

  3. Wednesday Link Encyclopedia  | Clarissa's Blog Says:

    […] I love this blogger’s letters. They make me feel warm and cozy. I like talented people.  […]

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