Friday, September 11, 2015

Swirling

Fourteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I hardly paid attention during the morning commemoration - in years past I've felt time slow as the date, and time, approached. But in the evening I went with my friend L to see the Tribute in Lights riing near the World Trade Center site, two columns of light which you can see for miles. I've only seen them from the distance before. Up close they are revealed to be banks of lights (twice forty-four), and quivering, even sparkling: birds swooping and diving, feasting on the bugs drawn by the light, as high up as eye can see. To me it seemed a little like a cinematic evocation of angels, or the WW1 flying aces ascending into the sky at the end of Miyazaki Hayao's "Porco Rosso." To L, who was here fourteen years ago, it called to mind the rain of ash on the day the towers fell. The birds seemed neither to be rising nor falling, just swirling.

At ten, unannounced, the lights went out, beam by beam, starting with the one on the left. (Apparently it's for the sake of the birds, who get "caught" in the light; the lights came on again later.) The first few birdful shafts seemed extinguished from below but the last seemed to be called back from above. I wasn't quite prepared for such a leave taking.

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