Once again it's 9/11 and our thoughts return to that horrific day, but thankfully the memories are not quite as poignant as they were several years ago. Today, twelve years later, when I recalled that day the image that came to mind immediately was not low flying jets headed for one of the towers and the gaping holes they created, the veil of acrid smelling smoke enveloping lower Manhattan, or the aftermath of monumental destruction. Rather it was of the flower market on Fulton Street that I passed as I was walking north to leave that hellish gray world behind.
As I wrote two years ago, the world for those of us who were downtown that day became one of complete silence and monochromatic gray. The residual dust from the Trade Towers wrapped lower Manhattan in a cloud of gray turning everything it touched the same color. It was like a heavy fog that wasn't going to lift anytime soon.
Several hours after the towers came down, lower Manhattan was slowly being evacuated and I decided to head north to a friend's apartment having linked up with a Canadian who was headed in the same direction. Walking slowly, the world was a very foreign place - silent and colorless ... until we turned to cross Fulton Street. There we saw a young Korean woman, covered in ash from head to toe with a hose in her hand - washing the ash and debris from her precious flowers. Their brilliant colors and the woman's actions struck me with their collective determination to survive - to rise up from the ashes and move on, as we all have had to do.