I had breakfast this morning at Ground Zero—the park that now sits at the site of the attacks that occurred on 9/11.
A bit hungover, I sit in silence taking the place in through squinted eyes and scalding hot coffee.
Where the towers once stood there are now two large pools. Water falls into each, then further down into a smaller pool in the center of each of the larger pools. The water just drops off into the smaller pools—you can't see the bottom.
The memorial elicits a feeling of falling, and a feeling of hopelessness. At first I find myself wondering why the architect would want to deliver that message—it doesn't seem the appropriate emotion to be shooting for.
But then I realize I'm sitting in the shadow of the newly constructed towers—the ultimate sign of revival, of rebirth.
There's a complexity to it—it's a great memorial.
Sitting there, I'm at the tail end of six months of travel. And it's just days since a terrorist group attacked Israel, the opening of yet another war as the war in Ukraine carries on.
I'm surrounded by busy New Yorkers zigzagging there way to work, and I can't help but think of all of things that we invest our time and energy into as people. All of the problems we set out to solve.
It strikes me that we should spend a lot more of our time figuring out how to co-exist with one another despite our differences. How to live more peacefully. How to be nicer to one another.
Are there any more pressing problems to solve?
As I often do when traveling, I find myself contemplating my own relationship with my nationality. America's place in the world. What it means to be American.
I find many aspects of American culture and behavior to be ugly—and our execution of American ideals is certainly far from perfect. Often frustratingly so.
But the ideals that the United States stands for? The ideas that America was founded on?
Damn we got that part right.
It's hard to call those anything but one word: beautiful.