The Weight of the World
[A Retrospective] In sharing memories today, as is always the case on this day, the emotions, sounds, and sensations came flooding back as though they were fresh experiences. I remain overwhelmed as I try to express the effect of the resounding silence I felt in the days following September 11, 2001 and I am at a loss…Everything was out of the ordinary…Everything was wrong…I was stuck on the deck in one of the busiest cities on the planet and all I could sense was an eery silence that weighed so heavily on earth and ears that all sound seemed stifled and flat. As I attempt to put this in perspective, I find solace and reason in the clouds…We navigate storms and think little of them as we are protected in our pressurized aluminum and composite capsules, out of touch with the extremes of temperature and torrent…an occasional bump may remind us of the hazards surrounding us, but we quickly return to our complacency…Stripping away that protection, we imagine the tearing sensation of shearing winds, the chaos of colliding air masses, and the rapid freefall of rain. The weight of the world and all of these chaotic and downward forces fall upon us when our layers of physical and emotional protection fall away…and all we can feel is that weight upon us and the chaos around us…a topsy-turvy sensory affectation of our burdened souls…all sounds are dulled, yet our senses are heightened…we move in slow motion, we notice everything from the silence of the birds to absent roars of jets…and these moments are so burned into our memories of this shared trauma that they will never be forgotten…but in the midst of darkness there are always a few rays of light that penetrate and illuminate the storm, providing us hope that the storm is not eternal and the chaos will eventually subside…And this is where we may find solace on the storm.
Years and miles ahead on these airways you so beautifully bring back to mind and soul. Like you, I still grieve for comrades lost on that brilliant VFR day, Although lost to our common “Aerial Horizon” they are not lost to the heart.
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ron. I could not agree more…Their memories surround us, connect us, and come streaming back like flashes of light in the ether.