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September 19, 2012
The heavens opened again last night, forming the usual lakes at the crosswalks and rivers unto the storm drains. Some of us leap over them. Others seek out a way around them. More people than you might think simply plunge their Manolo Blahniks smack into the middle of them and keep right on walking. That would be hard on me if I wearing a $1500 pair of shoes, but it's like the man said: the very rich are different from you and me.

After the landscaping trauma of exhuming our sewer line to the street earlier this year and the further scandal of an especially hot summer, the time has come at last when it makes sense to seed the front yard, and this was just done. Now it must be watered once a day -- which God did for us yesterday and again early this morning, free of charge. And my daughter received a little housewarming gift: water in the basement of their new place.

But now, this afternoon, the sun is out and the sky is a bright 9/11 blue, gorgeous weather that will always be linked in my mind and the minds of many others with that terrible day. I long ago lost track of how many people remarked on how lovely the weather was that day. I did it myself -- in fact, I'm doing it right now. Why was the beautiful weather on 9/11 so noteworthy? I suppose it's because we think the universe should weep with us when we weep.

It doesn't, though. It just carries on. We are not pivotal to very much in this world, Its arrangements don't mirror our drama. It's a little touching, the way we think they should, like people who scan their horoscopes every day, convinced that the very stars wait breathlessly upon their romances, job searches and financial fixes. No, the weather doesn't manage us. Neither do the stars. Stuff just happens. Whatever meaning it has, we attach to it later on.

Does this mean that life is meaningless? Not at all. It is simply the case that meaning arises from the community witnessing its parade of events. We make it, inheriting it from the past and agreeing to make it our own, observing the stuff of the present and interpreting it as best we can. And so beautiful weather on a funereal day is potent to us, packed with significance. It was a cruel joke to some, a sign of hope to others. A lot depended on who you already were.

Because we bring ourselves to the meaning we make.

You may remember asking yourself this question when you were young. This is


You may recall asking yourself this question when you were young. The artist is Satoko Ishimine.
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