20 Years

I abandoned the absurdly high-salaried and beyond-bullshit dot-com world just weeks before the attack on the World Trade Center in September, 2001. The cafeteria in our office building, Cross & Cross’s magnificent Deco-fantasy Twenty Exchange, was on the top floor, so those who went in early for breakfast saw it from on high.

I saw, felt, and smelled it from Brooklyn, from my old subway stop, from my roof. 

It has been estimated that at least 22,000 and as many as 48,000 civilians have been killed by the U.S. in the “war on terror” since then. The cost to democracy here has been devastating. The damage done by the reactionary incompetents of the Bush regime, only in power because of a partisan Supreme Court, was a greater blow to the nation than the terror attack.

That Fall was long and lingering. In another time, it would have been called glorious. I spent a lot of time in Prospect Park, just a couple avenues up the moraine from where I lived. A Great Blue Heron was in the area of the Pools, just beyond some fencing. I mean, just beyond. The gigantic bird was almost within hand’s reach. It was an extraordinary opportunity to study it up close.

As winter stretched into the new year, a pair of Red-tailed Hawks courtshipped and mated in front of everybody. That spring they would nest just over the circling Drive. In summer, their two young would fly right past you, past startled nannies, excited dogs.. I reported my sightings to my mother, the bird-watcher in the family. She was dying of pancreatic cancer. She gave me a pair of binoculars. Swift 8x20s. This is when I became a bird-watcher


A more recent Great Blue. Literally: a juvenile seen in the past week.
The death beam, destroyer of birds and insects. American martyrology is a ghastly business.

3 Responses to “20 Years”

  1. 1 Jocelyn Charles September 11, 2021 at 11:27 am

    I appreciate your commentary!

  2. 2 gwisner September 11, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    Instead of going after the mostly Saudi terrorists themselves, we waged war on Afghanistan and Iraq instead, with enormous loss of life. Not to mention the kidnapping, black sites, torture, and forever detention of people at Guantanamo.

  3. 3 Monica M September 12, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    Your commentary is on point. Our amoral government used non-truth as a means to kill innocents. What have our people learned from this? Hate.
    It’s torn us apart.

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