Pompeii- I was listening to

– I was listening to NPR this morning (yes, former pacifists still can listen to NPR) when I heard an interview with the man who is wielding the wrecking ball at the World Trade Center. He spoke, as all the good people who work down there do, of the strain and stress on the soul. He also gave me an image I cannot erase from my mind. He said that the bodies of the victims they are recovering now are completely enveloped in concrete dust, so completely enveloped that they are not even decomposing. This is our modern Pompeii.

There is that dust again. Two months ago, I wrote about my relationship to dust, how it is the thing that haunts me most, that dust that we inhaled, that dust that covered us and the world around us that day, that dust that made me sick. Now we have this terrible image of the dust suffocating its victims, encasing them, entombing them.

Every time I think I can get an inch away from the terrible images, I can’t.

– I am glad to see that they are going to preserve the two largest pieces of the facade of the World Trade Center that were left standing after the collapse for possible use in a memorial. This is the image that I think stays with most of us in the aftermath of that day and whether literally or figuratively, it is appropriate to include them in the memorial.

They should also save the dust.

And as I said earlier, I hope they save the fire still burning under the rubble to light an eternal flame.