I still have the dream.
I’m standing outside at night. I hear the whine of a jet far overhead. I look up and see the airliner, darker than the night sky around it. The shape of its body and wings eclipse stars, then clouds, then trees as it falls to earth.
Sometimes I wake up at that moment. Sometimes the dream involves ushering a child or a dog to comparative safety behind an elaborate fountain like the kind you’d find in a town square. Mercifully, I never dream long enough to see the fire or hear the noise.
I’ve had the dream for the better part of 10 years now. Like my other recurring dreams — being lost, losing teeth and the classic being back in high school with no idea what I was doing or where I should be going — I’m not certain what prompted it, other than general anxiety.
Ten years ago this week, we all felt horror and shock and sorrow as we watched the events of Sept. 11 unfold. I doubt there are many of us who don’t still think about that day. Or dream about it.
Almost as vivid in my memory, however, is the memory of my relief when, a few days after the attacks, I first noticed a vapor trail in the sky. It was a sign that we were recovering, that things were moving back toward normal.
That recovery has seemed very slow at times and the nightmares linger. But we’re recovering, nonetheless.
(Photo above by Dallas commercial photographer Sean Gallagher.)