Thursday, September 11, 2014

That Day. This Day

Calhoun's Cannons For Sept 11, 2014

It is difficult at times to repress the thought that history is about as instructive as an abattoir.
                                      Seamus Heaney

This day, the airwaves are flooded with September 11th remembrances -- all those endless tape loops of planes and buildings and dust and chaos.  And death.  So much death.

I don't plan on watching any of the specials.  Nothing new there.  Just heartache and sadness, the old wounds. On  the TV news, the twin towers will fall again and again, each rerun more awful than the other.  The Falling Man, that horrifying signature photograph of a man who jumped from the burning heights, will still remain halfway between sky and earth  -- Schrodinger's cat in a business suit, permanently existing and not existing.  There is no saving him.  The script cannot be rewritten, the film unspooled. He will fall forever.

A day after that day, while the TV news was still filled with scenes of unbearable ugliness, without really being conscious of what I was doing, I went out and bought a wine-barrel planter and some flowers.  It was rather silly, this thought that the horror in New York and Pennsylvania and Washington DC, could be countered in any way by some petunias.  But there it was.  The need to put something of beauty, something living, into the ground.

Locally, Mr. Tutt must have felt a similar urge because within hours of the onslaught his huge crane appeared on the corner of Los Osos Valley Road and South Bay Blvd, a giant American flag waving  on the top of the crane's arm.  And on the truck itself, as if by magic, local citizens, driven as I was to somehow reclaim something living, something renewing, had started putting vases of flowers on the truck-bed of this touching, home-grown memorial shrine. 

But no amount of flowers could begin to counter the darkness that was unleashed on that bright blue day.  The stain of an unnecessary war upon a region already cracking apart from barely contained sectarian violence, state-sanctioned torture, murder, destruction, death;  the absolute worst human nature has to offer.  Osama had opened the box and the insanity was unleashed. Celebrated.  Reveled in.  A world gone mad. 

And so it remains today. Lessons unlearned.  Hard to disagree with Seamus: The world as an abattoir. Countless dead, all that pain and loss, and for what?  A new skyscraper pierces the heavens where the ghost of the Twin Towers stands: Business as usual.  Osama bin Laden is gone, his cerebral dreams of a pristine, purified caliphate degenerated into a sadistic British thug done up as a badass rapping Ninja Warrior holding a bloody knife in one hand, a reporter's head in the other.   You-Tube Jihad.   

Muhammad himself would weep in shame.

So on this day, no re-runs for me, thank you.  The past is irredeemable.  And, anyway, we have far sadder things to focus on.  As I sit typing this, the radio news has announced the latest U.N. report that the world's CO2 numbers are now well past the no-return, tipping-point numbers. 

Which means on this day, the dire consequences of global warming are now unstoppable.  Locked, and loaded, they have targeted all of us.  Ignoring science and dismissing our future, we have flown our own planes into our own Twin Towers.

It is a supreme irony.  Now, like The Falling Man, we are all Schrodinger's Cat.  And no amount of petunias in wine-barrel planters or crane trucks with flags and flowers will save us and our children from what's coming.



Patrick O'Hannigan said...

Beautiful column, Ann. But fret not about the C02 numbers because there is no malice there. The UN also says that Earth's ozone layer is beginning to recover, which is good news.

As to what is on TV today, around here there are no endless tape loops of destruction. Instead we get pabulum from talking heads about a "national day of service" in remembrance of 9/11/01.

Churadogs said...

Patrick, I would argue that there is a kind of awful "malice" by too many of us (via our own actions and our votes) to put the future of ourselves, our children, our planet in jeopardy for the sake of a few dollars in our own pockets. Talk about the classic "F--k you and the horse you rode in on." And when it comes to corporate/business -- the old "privitize the profits and socialize the losses" ? Real, organized, deliberate malice, I would say.

Oddly, regarding Osama, I always had the feeling that there was no real, personal malice for the people he murdered. They were just a means to an end. Unfortunate, but necessary to carry out his holy plans.

Well, pablum probably beats tape loops. Can't bear to look at them any more. Will spend some time today pulling weeds in the garden and watching the green beans over-top their tall bean poles, waving in the sky.

Alon Perlman said...

The Tuttinator, still a character in the land of characters. Nice to have those local touches.
As for Osama, yes it was not personal, it was business. Fuel bombs into large symbols of financial government and military establishment.
But for other Al Queda, Mohamad Atta, it was very personal.
Like the relationship between the Journalist and his decapitator.

Sandra Gore said...

Leave each day to the fullest. We may never see a more beautiful world than today.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ann. Your writing was depressing (although true), the
present time makes me want to plant more trees around the house
and water them (until we run out of water)and hide inside! I will
then sit inside and re-read all of
my blogs...which (I think) are positive views of my traveling world. Caroline

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Thank you Ann, for articulating and formulating thoughts about this where I could not. Wish I hadn't looked last night. It seemed manipulative somehow, now that we are on the brink of stepping into more smelly goo in the Middle East. How much and just HOW, in the balance.

How much upset and wrong in the world to turn people into homicidal maniacs! Bad parenting, loneliness, bullying, greed, mental illness. Not enough want to look at any of that or at global warming either to actually solve it. Maybe that is not possible. Look back on history....the only upside, we haven't killed us all....yet, anyway.

Well, individually, vote as best we can, contribute where we can, drive less when we can, be courageous where we can, etc.. Avoid dwelling on ugliness. And join protest where we can. And enjoy every little bit that shows us something interesting, compassionate, beautiful.

Churadogs said...

All true. We will continue to murder one another over stupid stuff because that's what we're hard-wired to do. And continue to allow ourselves to be the victims of con men acting against our own best interests because that's also what we're hard-wired to do.

The only upside to all of this is in the long view, it won't matter. Earth abides and Mother nature will have her way. What we have killed off in our blind folly, She will replace with new species. What's washed away will be rebuilt by the shifting ground. The generation who witnesses the old world dying away will mourn and curse our memories. But the children born into this new world will have known no other and so they will still laugh in the streets.