Life has been crazy and I had forgotten what day on the calendar it was until I saw the morning news. I was instantly transported back seventeen years, teaching a lesson in my studio at Mars Hill College, when the call came to come home immediately- something horrible, something life-changing, had happened. I remember going to New York for a lesson with my mentor soon afterward and coming up out of the subway to ash falling continuously from the sky like snow.
There are days that create time stamps in our memory, days that we never forget, days that we can remember every minute detail of where we were and what we were doing. September 11th is one of those days, as were the days my mother and father died; days of sorrow and grief. Days of disbelief and heart-wrenching pain. It seems we can remember each painful breath that we took.
There have been other time stamp days in my life, too, perhaps not so monumental, but crystalline in my memory nonetheless. My first kiss, awkard and sweet. Walking onstage for my first solo recital, my heart beating and palms sweating. The first time I saw my husband, walking in the balcony of the concert hall as I sat on stage in an orchestra rehearsal. Locking eyes and hearts with my soul dog Guinness behind the fence at the Tampa Humane Society.
Sometimes it is very clear why a memory takes hold within us, creating a sort of worm hole to transport us back to another time. Sometimes the most simple things stay with us; a kind word from a stranger, a sunset seen with a loved one, the aroma of baking cookies through an old screen door. Even those small moments add to the story that is our life.
Today as I stop to remember and pay respect to the sadness and loss of that September 11th seventeen years ago, I will also pay homage to all the other moments that have imprinted themselves on my heart and mind- the good and the not-so-good. I always want these stories to stay with me; I learn from their challenges, heartaches, and joys, I grow from them…and I am grateful for the memories that flood through when the time stamp is triggered.