This is what I see tonight when I look down my street in the direction of Manhattan. Not the buildings - there are too many houses and trees in the way, and anyway, I think this photo was taken from Jersey - just the lights.
And they're playing on the clouds in almost exactly the same way. It's very eerie. I didn't even know what it was when I first stepped outside. I thought maybe an airplane was coming in toward Kennedy and for some reason had put on its landing lights early, and then fell back on the equally plausible explanation of it being a UFO.
Then I remembered hearing about the Tower of Light that's been displayed every September 11 as a memorial, and realized simultaneously that this is the first September 11 I've actually spent in New York. Having such a close emotional involvement with this town for such a long time had somehow made it possible for me to forget how little time I'd actually spent here.
Surprisingly few people actually said anything about what day it was today, but they didn't have to; though they talked of everything but, their eyes told a different tale. And tonight along my block, many of the neighbors are out on the stoops or the sidewalks basking in the autumnal but still relatively mild breeze. Their eyes are fixed on each other, or on the beers that they're drinking, or on Joe-across-the-street dragging the garbage can out for tomorrow's pickup, but their glance and their attention keeps drifting back to the tower of light at the dark end of my street.