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May 4, 2005
My plane back home landed at night. Above the clouds, it isn't dark -- night falls closer to the ground. But soon we were below them, sweeping in and up toward New York from the West. And now it was dark.

Whatever their daytime blight, the earth's human habitations are beautiful from the air at night. It is fairyland: a kingdom of gold and silver jewels glowing against the black: horseshoes of lighted cul-de-sacs, lighted rectangles of parking lots, winding streams of lighted highways, little sparks of cars making their slow way along them, bright green and gold baseball diamonds. Jewels of light for as far as I can see, and the black edge of the earth, the curve that reveals it as not really an edge only just discernible.

Which is this, I wondered, trying to orient myself -- is it the turnpike or the Parkway? I looked ahead: if I could see the skyline, I would know. And there it was, small in the distance, hard to see at first without the twin towers anchoring it at the bottom of Manhattan. But there it was: the Empire State Building, and then the little Chrysler Building, at once gorgeous and silly in its art deco wonder. The tall homogenous buildings of Lower Manhattan, parting to reveal the lovely Woolworth building, once the miracle of its age, so much smaller and so much more graceful than the behemoths surrounding it. It used to be hidden by the World Trade Center, but now you can see it again from the air and from the water.

We do not have what we had. But we have what we have. Thrown back upon it, we remember that it is lovely. There is always something to treasure, no matter what may be taken.
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