On September 11, 2001, my morning class composition class at DSU was interrupted by a student who was notorious for either sleeping in class or browsing the internet. "Someone flew a plane into the World Trade Center," he announced. It was the first classroom contribution he'd ever made, and I admonished him, told him to get off the internet and get back to work.
Later I learned what was unfolding in New York. Later yet that day I got in my car and as I drove down to Vermillion for class, I noticed how empty the sky was, how from brim to brim the blue curve of the sky was empty, unlined. It felt to me, now full of the knowledge of the collapsed towers, the crashed plane, the burning pentagon, that the vast criss-crossing of contrails was a web that had come unraveled, a basket broken through. It felt a little as though I were suddenly working without a net, that some woven underpinning to my life had come undone.
|Contrails over South Dakota, 9-11-11|