Sunday, September 11, 2011

From 9-11, to a Farm. Life, Death, and what is important to us.

I was living in San Francisco when 9-11 happened; I'd lived there for many years. I'd always preferred rural life to urban life, but I needed to work, and cities offered more job opportunities.

By 2001 I was a business owner. But as the economy soured, our business suffered, and we sold up and moved out. To a rural area, where we have a business in town and a small farm at home. I always figured we were heading to a place like this eventually. But 9-11, and it's effect on the economy and our business, made us decide to make the transition sooner rather than later.

While surfing the net, I came across one woman's 9-ll story. She worked near the towers. She got caught in the dust cloud when the first tower collapsed. She's a writer, and reading her story makes you feel like you were there:

First-hand account of 9/11
At the Wall St. train stop people were covered with papers. A plane crash. That's what everyone said. Then a boom. Everyone ran. I ran to my office and called my brother in the Midwest.

I wanted to be closer. At the corner of Church and Broadway, I angled my way through a large, packed crowd to get the best view. We talked about people jumping. The police stood behind the yellow tape. Minutes later, there was a boom. I thought it was a bomb, so I crouched, but people ran, so I ran. I couldn't see anything. I don't know how far I ran. Couldn't see where I was running. Didn't know if I was in a street or next to a building. Didn't know what street I was on. No one could talk because the dust filled our throats. After about ten steps I tripped over a pile of people and then people tripped on me.

I laid there. The only sound was the falling of dust and debris. No one moved under me. The weight of people on top of me got heavier. I couldn't breathe. I knew we were all going to die in that pile. I pulled myself out of the pile. My slip-ons slipped off. I stood up and saw nothing. Not even an inch in front of me. I put my hands out and felt for something. [...]

She ends up drinking out of a ... well, read the whole thing.

She writes for a living. She has a blog, and she's written about how the experience has affected her, shaped her life, even 10 years later:

Surviving 9/11: Ten years later

She also lives on a farm now. I can't say there are a lot of other similarities between my life and hers. But she does have some keen insights, and I do know, like her, that, when you think you are going to die in the next moment, your priorities suddenly become very clear. And when you survive, instead of die, if you have any sort of depth to you, those revealed priorities stay with you the rest of your life.

And I have to say, poking around her blog, I've really enjoyed reading some of her rants, observations, and advice:

What to do in college right now

Bad career advice: Do what you love

Motivation Tips from the Bath

Best alternative to grad school

Voices of the defenders of grad school. And me crushing them.

Overcome the willpower myth

Figuring out where you fit

She isn't politically correct, and her posts are full of interesting embedded links.

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