Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wonderland on 9/11 Eve

Michael was late. He always picks me up at 6:00 on Sundays, but on 9/10/11 he was late. Traffic. There's lots of traffic in and around Wonderland and so I really couldn't do much, besides wait... patiently. At least I tried to be patient. I think I looked Patient, anyway.

I work in Jersey City. When I leave the building that I work in, if I look to the left, there is a lovely view of the Goldman Sachs Building and, beyond that, the tips and tops of Wonderland (NYC) peek over the local buildings. Michael finally arrived around 7:15. The sky wasn't as bright as it had been at 6:00. The light was leaving the day behind and shadows were beginning to deepen. I was just a tad-bit annoyed at having to wait for an hour and fifteen minutes for Michael, but managed to soothe myself with a little deep breathing.

After saying "good night" to the folks at the front desk, we walked out onto the sidewalk and I looked to my the East. The Goldman Sachs Building towered above the neighborhood. As I looked at it, I noticed the windows. I quickly turned to see an amazing sunset in the western sky, the dark, pink, smokey curls reflecting in the windows of The City's buildings in the East.

When I'd left for work, that morning, I had seen my camera in a chair and grabbed it, on impulse. I had it with me all day and assumed I would take it home, unused. I even thought, as I looked at the beautiful sky: "Omg...this is beautiful...where's my cam...oh wait...yes!!" There it was, in it's case, tucked under my arm. In haste, I shoved my purse and some other things into Michael's hands, reached into the camera bag and gently lifted out my favorite toy!

*snap* I love that little sound. It means that I've captured something interesting to be explored, later. I snapped a few more, then got in the car with the camera strap still around my neck. As we rode down Marin Blvd, I looked down a cross-street and could see the WTC Freedom Tower, under construction, just on the other side of the Hudson River, a few short blocks away. *snap*

It hit me, all at once. The Tower...the light..the sunset...PHOTO OPPORTUNITY!!!!

Michael (patient, understanding Michael who is also a photographer) turned the car around and we headed for the River Walk. We followed the view to the World Trade Center Memorial in Jersey City, created to honor those who were lost, from this area. It is park-like, but with something that looks like a large, grave stone with picture of the WTC and behind that...giant pieces of twisted metal which had been part of the World Trade Center, itself. Just across the Hudson River, from this spot, the actual buildings had once stood.

No one with a heart could stand in this place and not feel....something. To be standing there on the eve of the anniversary of that historic tragedy was moving, beyond words. To be standing there, camera in hand on one of the most beautiful evenings with deep blue sky, fantastic clouds and deep pinks and yellows of the sunset in the West, reflected in the windows of the New York City Skyline was a joy that when mixed with everything else, brought tears to my eyes.

Pushing tragedy to the back of my mind, I lifted my camera. I didn't want to lose this. It was beyond a desire to make photographic art and my only thought was "I have to show this to people". Whether or not I did this scene justice, will be up to others to judge. I'm sure there are those who could have, and probably did, create more detailed, more technically correct...more professional photos. These are from my heart. They have not been "photo-shopped" and only have had minor editing for contrast and color, and only enough to show the truth of that night.

I have NEVER seen "Wonderland" look more beautiful...and I'm only able to share it with you...

....because Michael...was late.

Copyright 2011 Bettina Makley

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