Proof of my premise that much of what is good and true in my life is somehow, someway rooted in Rangeley, I’m honored to report that the largest percentage of people landing on my blog this year are once again honoring 9/11. They come here looking for An Unbroken Bond, written by survivor, relief fund founder, and dear friend, Edie Lutnick. They also seek the touching tribute written by our local bookstore owner, Wess Connally, (reprinted below). By reading, rereading, commemorating, and sharing—they are remembering.
So how does a blog rambling about life in the woods by a big, quiet lake end up promoting an award-winning biography about an event that rocked the world from our nation’s core? Just how does an author like myself—who marks the seasons turning with passages like “Out Like a Lamb-eating Yeti”—help another author reveal what it was really like surviving the aftermath of 9/11, what it really means to never forget 10 years later? And how did the two of us, together from afar, lead me full circle to my own backyard to post Wess’ remembrance, my most popular in the history of this blog?
Very serendipitously. That’s the short answer. For the long answer, read Wess’ poem. And then go visit him at Books, Lines and Thinkers, tell him thank you, and join the bond that winds its way from the mountains of Maine back to the heart of Manhattan—and beyond.
(Author’s Note: I am honored to reprint, with permission from the author, the following poem by Wess Connally. Wess originally wrote and shared this with our local community at memorial services on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. He owns the Books, Lines and Thinkers book store on Main Street, Rangeley. Originally posted here on Sept. 11, 2012, it drew the largest readership of any post on this site.)
—by Wess Connally
You were husbands and wives.
You were mothers and fathers.
You were sons and daughters.
You were grandparents.
You were grandchildren.
You were aunts and uncles,
nieces and nephews and cousins.
You were our brothers,
and you were our sisters.
And I wish you could have been here that morning.
It was a beautiful morning in these old, old mountains.
I remember the sky that morning.
It was a liquid blue.
It looked as though you could fill a glass with it,
then drink it down.
And if you did you would live forever.
It was that full of promise.
I remember the air that morning;
crisp, as though autumn had arrived overnight.
And, indeed, as if to prove the point,
some of the maple leaves had already gone bright red;
the wild apples, too,
hanging heavy from their wild branches.
If you picked one and ate it,
you would live forever.
I remember the birds that morning;
chickadees and nuthatches,
busy with their harvesting of insects
from the wild branches of fir and birch,
conversing all the while.
And if you understood their language,
they would tell you all the secrets of life.
And I remember having the morning free,
and pulling on an old sweater,
and sitting outside in the Adirondack, reading,
the sun warm at my back.
I wish you would have been with me that morning.
And I wish you were here now,
all of you, with all of us,
sitting in the warm sunlight,
in the beauty and peace of these old, old mountains.
I wish you would have been here that morning.
For my related “Rooted In Rangeley” posts, see:
- 9/11/11: A time to share Edie’s story
- Remembering 9/11
- Come and Meet Those Dancin’ Feet (a 3-part series)
For more about Edie and how she continues to help turn tragedy into hope, see:
- An Unbroken Bond
- Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund (Since Sept. 14, 2001, this fund has raised and distributed over 270 million dollars to 9/11 families, and to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and other disasters. Most recently, $2M in donations were raised and distributed to hurricane victims in Moore, OK.)
- Out of the Clear Blue Sky (just released, critically acclaimed documentary)