I have to admit with a bit of embarrassment that it wasn’t until I fired up my “digital oracle” this morning that I realized today was another 9/11 anniversary. Lucky 13th. I remember clearly where I was and what I was doing. In college in Maine, gathering my books with NPR on, I heard that a small plane hit one of the towers. Didn’t think much of it, so I went to class. The love poetry of John Donne. Of course, news started bubbling up, and eventually class was let out a bit early. By the time I returned to my dorm room, all my friends were crowded around our TV. I tried to call home to New York, but it took a long time to get through. Luckily, everyone was safe, but the view from the train station looking south was devastating. That afternoon, I had another class: Religions of India — we were to focus on Islam. While no one would be penalized for skipping that day, the Professor didn’t cancel. Our curriculum was far too relevant.
Fast forward several years, there’s another moment I remember where I was and what I was doing. In a small village in Niger, listening to the BBC World Service describe the collapse of the world financial markets, the end of Lehman Brothers. It was time to get my rice and sauce from the local market. This market hadn’t collapsed yet. Fueled by the activities of people, community, and daily life, subsistence farming doesn’t play with credit default swaps. But even remote villages eventually face turmoil when the world doesn’t sit well.
We remember events because they remind us how everything leads to the next occurrence, and the next and the next. While not everything happens for a reason (sometimes life does just throw you a stink bomb), I don’t believe there is true randomness in the long view. We plant the seeds of tomorrow with the triumphs or mistakes of today.
It’s been a while since I’ve cultivated a bridge on this forum. Hopefully the next wait won’t be so long.