Monday, September 12, 2011

where i was when ...

Having just been called out for claiming, 3 months ago, that I was going to fill the handbasket with goodies once more, and then sitting back and doing nothing but reading other peoples' blogs in the intervening time, I am really and truly back. A very hot summer has come and gone, in which I saw my triumphant return to the stage (Question Period the Musical at the Ottawa Fringe), spent a full week at the cottage truly doing nothing except for reading, swimming and hanging out with family, and had an amazing two-week trip to California with PJ. And now, it's the fall which, after years of programming, is still "back to school" time in my mind, even though it's been 5 years now since I actually WENT back to school after Labour Day.

The year between my undergrad and law school was the first fall that I didn't go back to school. It was also September 2001. As yesterday was the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I've been thinking about where I was. I was at a farm belonging to family friends. The daughters of the family were also done their degrees and between travel and work, so we hung around a fair amount that fall while we were all back in the homeland. They had 5 or so Scottish lads visiting - these guys had been in New York the week before, and were spending some time experiencing the famous hospitality at the farm. I'd stayed over after a dinner party the night before, crashing on the couch. So, I watched the second tower fall live on TV with some of my oldest friends, and a group of guys who I'd known for a few days.

After sitting in stunned silence for a few hours, and after the guys had all managed to call home to a) reassured their parents that it was last week that they were in NY, and that they were safe in rural Canada; and b) be reassured that family members who worked in European capitals were ok, we went to the lake and went canoeing and swimming. It was warm and quiet, the motor-boaters and week-long vacationers having left with the close of the Labour Day weekend. And we felt like we shouldn't be getting on with life, enjoying ourselves, when we were pretty sure that the world had just changed. But we also knew that you can't not get on with your life. And so, when I remember that day, I have sympathy for the young New Yorkers who were photographed sitting in the sun as the towers burned in the background, and have been accused of being callous for looking normal while they sat and processed what had happened. Because we, who were more removed from the tragedy, drove away from the TV altogether down a country road and out onto the lake, even though we didn't yet know all that had happened, but knew the world had changed.