I was taking a shower that morning, and heard the phone ringing. I didn't think much of it, as I had plans to meet a girlfriend for lunch later that day. I finished showering, decided to dry my hair before listening to the answering machine message. But the phone rang again, and yet again, encouraging me to stop everything and answer the call. It was my girlfriend telling me the USA had been attacked, that a plane had hit one of the Towers of the World Trade Center and another one had gone down in a field somewhere in Pennsylvania, and equally nightmarish - a living nightmare - was the news that our Pentagon had also suffered an attack....all of this happening within a very short span of time on the clock of that September morning.
This was difficult to even picture or fathom, because this type of thing just doesn't happen to America. Or, it didn't. Up until that day, our country had lived in a unique bubble, safe and never assailed by outside forces in this modern age. The bubble was broken that day.
I turned the TV on and watched, horrified. The second plane hit the second of the World Trade Center Towers before my eyes and the eyes of the whole world. Comprehension and terrible understanding sank in. As I left my house to drive over to my girlfriend's house, I noticed the absolute hush over the day. Some of this hush was due to all airplanes except for military being grounded, but it was more than that.
There was a hush in nature.
No birds were singing. I remember that very clearly, and I stood outside listening for a good 15 minutes, looking around me, but the sounds of nature were silent. My home at the time was surrounded by heavy tracts of woods, so there were always the sounds of birds chirping. But not that day. It was silent outside. There was no breeze. Just a still hush over the world that was palpable. I will never forget how it felt, as though the world was holding its breath for the people who perished that day.
I spent the day getting in touch with everyone I love the most, making sure they were safe. There was an intrinsic need to connect with them, and I learned I was not alone in that need. Phone lines and computer servers were overloaded with extremely high levels of activity that day. I grieved at what a great loss we had incurred and struggled to make sense of it. There is no sense to be garnered, obviously. The only positive thing I can take from it is that we survived it. Our country survived, but thousands of innocent people died. This many years later, the memories are still vivid and fresh, and for many....still raw.
I've read other people's thoughts of where they were that day. I was in Knoxville, Tennessee, living my very ordinary life, safe and far from harm's way. That prompted me to share my memories and what still stands out so strongly in my memory was how quiet the day became. For those who believe this planet is inanimate, without reaction to tragic events, I would hold that memory out as an example of the exact opposite.
I felt the earth react and give quiet tribute to the ones who left us.