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September 11th

September 11th, 2003 · No Comments

Today is September 11th. I realized this morning, after I had already made my plans for the day, that I was going to the same place I went two years ago today.

On September 11, 2001, I drove to Valley Nursery to look at plants for our yard. Earlier that morning, Ted had gotten together with a couple friends, around 6 am or so, and they had all heard the awful news together about the planes in New York and D.C. I listened to the radio before the girls got up, and I wondered whether I should change my plans to go to the nursery off the island. I asked Ted whether I should cross the bridge and he seemed to think it was all right.

I remember being there at the nursery on the morning of 9/11. The radio was on loud, broadcasting across the plants, and people – employees and shoppers – spoke to each other in whispers: “Did you hear…?” It felt awkward, strange, guilty, almost as if we should be staying at home instead, watching TV and weeping. Yet being there, surrounded by the plants, admiring cascading evergreens in barrel buckets, rows of pastel heathers, bubbling water ponds filled with koi brought peace. Strolling through the trees and shrub collections reminded me of beauty and grace. The arched branches, vivid fall colors, the variety of greens gave hope. There was something healing about buying plants and bringing them home on such a tragic day.

Today it seemed a bit different. The place where the rows of heathers were is now a display of concrete statues. I came to look at fall bulbs and use a coupon from the mail. When I asked whether they would have any bearded iris, the employee shook her head definitively “Oh, No. We didn’t sell many of those last year.” Just as in our family, so also the financial impact of 9/11 seems to have hit the Nursery too.

But still today there was something healing in buying bulbs. Something fun in planning colors to come up in the spring: orange and purple hues. Buying bulbs is a gardener’s act of faith: I paid nearly $2 a piece for a handful of my favorites: yellow dog toothed violets – petite “pagoda” lanterns – that resembled old garlic cloves. We put hope and faith in the ground and wait for the bulb to bloom: new life emerging from what was buried, what seemed to be dead.

I find hope too in this article in today’s Seattle Times describing a Bainbridge Island couple who were on their honeymoon at the World Trade Center on September 11th

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