September 11

I am away from the internet so I won’t be able to post this until I return but I wanted to write it anyway. I remember on the 10th anniversary of 9-11, I said that I was glad ten years had gone by and that maybe now we were far enough away that we could think of the metaphoric meanings of the event instead of get caught over and over in the horror.

That the twin towers could be seen as a figment of our culture’s imagination that has led to believe that we can get as far away from the earth as possible and do our business around the world from that precarious position. That they were twins, could be seen as the way we have divided up the world into two’s—mind and body, male and female, right and wrong, us and the natural world, win and lose, day and night, life and death, me and you, white and black… And that we divide and then conquer with elevation of one side over the other, holding one side down, making it wrong, dirty. And they both go down and we have a chance to start from ground zero, a blank slate.

Strangely, when we look at it this way, it does not matter as much who did it—just that it was done and that we don’t have to repeat the mistake. We haven’t seen the end of this emergency call, this 911. We can only begin to see its meaning as time goes by and we can look back on it with less acute pain. Birds flying into the mechanisms of war and commerce, and killing 3000 humans at once and traumatizing and a city and a nation.

Whatever happened to humility? We have so many religions that teach us that humans do not know it all and yet our culture acts as we do. Where is the room for divination and mystery? We write off ancient indigenous wisdom as superstitious and ignorance and then go on about our lives, controlling, dominating, predicting, controlling. We Know so much and yet we don’t even know What the Robin Knows (see . What if we acted out of knowing our place in the world, in the natural world, such that our behavior was modified by what we heard and saw around us, so that we kept balance in that world—not splitting everything up into twos, but keeping everything whole and holy?

The following is from the novel I am currently working on called Here After. It is a quote from an Aboriginal character from Australia: “Americans believe that we Aborigines are superstitious and ignorant. Primitive. But we know something they don’t—that ceremony and ritual are to keep us humble so our big brains do not do everything they are capable of without consulting the rest of the world, the ancestors, the animals. We have ceremonies because we do not walk alone.”


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