Laura G Owens ~ Writer

Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do, you apologize for the truth. – Benjamin Disrael

Tag: September 11th

September 11th Survivor Tree: The Meaning of Life

Photo credit: Janey Henning

9/11 Memorial, Tree of Life, September 11thWatch: September 11th Survivor Tree Story. (1 minute 53 seconds)

This summer my family and I visited the September 11th Memorial. It was quiet, stirring, reverent and beautiful, surprisingly not laden with overwhelming sadness. It was instead, tinged with it.  The place felt for me, like stages of death acceptance when disbelief, anger and grief move from the how-can-we-go-on wrenching place, to a glimpse of peace.

I’m of course, injecting my own feeling into the footprint memorial of a once mountainous horror.

We inject our own meaning into what we want to feel.

 

This year I choose to avoid the burning images and the reading of the deceased. I’ve seen. I’ve heard. Hundreds of hours. We all did. I still gasp in my mind at the images in Life of bodies jumping out. That image, perhaps more than any, is seared.

To choose death over burning alive is a “choice” beyond understanding, and so our mind will not rest.

Humans are programmed to understand, to survive.

I hold echos of that day, smudges of ash remain, but now I want the ashes to blow away. I honor and respect the memory of our lost Americans and their surviving families, but re-visiting the horror, at least today, no longer serves me — and so I say good-bye.

September 11th Survivor Tree Story. 

In this moving video the Memorial guide escorting widow Alice Martin lovingly refers to the Survivor tree as “her.”

“She’s” a natural living treasure who sprouted new limbs from her injured tree elbows. Survivor produces lovely white flowers every April, a celebration of flourishing, despite. The Memorial team, the guide explains, may propagate saplings. I think that would be fitting.

Baby trees born from their Survivor mom, saplings with no memory or history of September 11th, their roots untouched by the Unimaginable.

Tree of Life. Tree of Perseverance. She is a Survivor.

P.s. I appreciate that I happened to watch the video just after I happen to read the definition of “existentialism” on Wikipedia, which I think I get, and I think I identity with.

It’s been a while since I read The Metamorphosis in English class. The notion of transformation via waking up a roach is an image I want to avoid.  A butterfly, a loved dog, fine. I can’t even look at our Florida-famous Palmetto bug (aka big roach) without literally screaming “eek” and going into a fetal ball.

I wonder, do philosophical ideas like existentialism come pre-loaded with head-scratching reactions? I think therefore, I am confused.

I appreciate as well that I saw the Survivor Tree video after I hit the Wiki link about “nihilism,” a concept regularly confused with existentialism. Apparently Nietzsche wrote of both philosophies so the two ideas were erroneously placed together.

I reject Nihilism. “Life has no intrinsic meaning or value.” Blek on that. Life has meaning alright, even if I’m the one placing the meaning.

Survivor Tree knows life has meaning. She breathed long and gasping under burning rubble just so she could come back to tell us.

My September 11th Tribute: For the Fallen and Left Behind

September 11th
Through our despair and hurt and pain rises a light that burns brighter than the darkest moment we ever felt, ever saw, ever feared. The light of hope and faith and compassion and love are the strongest forces in the universe that will prevail up against the very worst they try to do.

 

 Photo: Stuart Miles

We will always rise, we will always expand to greater levels, we will always stand in victory, and then — we will smile once again, so loudly that our hearts will drown the sorrow that once shadowed our lives and leave in its healing wake, the glistening drops of peace.  My tribute for September 11th. – Laura O.

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