Everyone remembers where they were on 9/11. It was a beautiful September day here at Wake Robin Farm, just as it is today. The twins, Mary and William, were 15, getting ready for what was supposed to be a routine day at Corvallis High. The odd part? It was. When they came home, they reported that nobody talked at all about planes flying into the two towers of the World Trade Center. No teacher said a word.
Personally, we were preoccupied by the fact that my mother was on a trip in France and our oldest son Miles, 22, was in Beijing, spending a term there to study Chinese. We heard from him immediately by e-mail with this prescient prediction:
I'm very worried about the aftermath of this. The Muslim community is probably going to get it….And when they figure out who's responsible, I pity that particular country's citizens, because I'm afraid we might really let them have it.
Well, he was right, and many horrible things have happened in these twenty years. But many good things too. Miles himself was just about to meet his future wife that Fall, and twenty years later to the day, he sends pictures of himself with his two sons, our darling grandsons, building an amazing sand fort on the beach at Neskowin. Life can still be good.
Coverage of the anniversary invariably talks about us losing our innocence that fateful day, and things never being the same afterwards. Of course we've already been hearing plenty about things never being the same after the Pandemic. Um, people? Things will never be the same in the future no matter what happens. Life is nothing but change. You can't step into the same river twice.
As for losing our innocence, isn't that what they said when President Kennedy was shot? No, wait, I guess we lost it all over again in 1968 when Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kenny were assassinated in the space of a couple of months. What about Watergate? The Iran hostage crisis? The Pandemic and, most recently, the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol?
The truth is, we've never been innocent. What people mean when they say that, I think, is more like, "Wow! Sure didn't see that coming! What a shock!" Well, who knows what shocking thing we're not seeing coming next? In the meantime, instead of languishing in nostalgia for a lovely past that never was, our best bet is to make today the best it can be and try for better tomorrows.
Our current challenge is simply to outlive and endure the sadly stubborn and uneducated people who refuse to get vaccinated and wear masks in the face of Covid-19. I'm feeling grateful that our Oregon county, Benton, is like an island of sanity in the pandemic, and, locally, we are all clinging to this goal of being able to keep our precious children in school.
It's beautiful and peaceful here today at Wake Robin Farm, and I'm going to enjoy it. I feel like more of a Buddhist than a Christian these days, but I've always liked this Biblical line: Today is the day which the day the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!