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January 7, 2004
I like it. This is New York: there will be a group formed to oppose it by this afternoon, but I like the design that has been chosen for the World Trade Center Memorial. Just reading about it took me there.

It will be beautiful. If will be empty and full at the same time. There will be two pools of water on the location of the buildings' footprints. You'll be able to stand and stare into their depths. There will be names -- ribbons of names, the designer says. Listed randomly, but there will be a directory so you can find your own person. People. There will be a row of pine trees on the outer edge of the memorial.

The familiar lurch in my stomach tells me they're onto something. Pools of water to stare into. Ribbons of names. Rows of pines. Remember the ribbons of aluminum that were everywhere, peeled right off the buildings like the skin of an orange, how they festooned the site, hung on trees, lay in the street, how one of them stuck in the side of another building like an arrow that had been shot there on purpose. Remember somebody's coffee cup still visible on a desk still upright. Remember the corporate reports in folders lying on the ground, the While You Were Out messages on the ground like snow, how much paper survived when people did not, how odd that seemed. I could stare into a deep pool of water at that site for few minutes. Or a year maybe. I don't know for how long, but I would like the chance to stare into those pools.

Not all prayer has words. Some of the most profound prayer does not need them. They get in the way sometimes. Some prayer just stares into the middle distance, or closes its eyes and sees nothing, or gazes into a pool of water. You can stay there for as long as you wish. For as long as you need to. And then lift your eyes. There is a row of trees. Evergreens.

You have to leave now. But you can come back another time.


To see the memorial design, go to
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