On a gorgeous Tuesday, September 11 morning in 2001, I took off on my Canondale road bike and went for a ride just outside Nashville, TN. It was a crystal clear, sparkling diamond of day with the leaves on the trees beginning to turn. Humidity was low and, because it was early, it was relatively cool and crisp. The ride was exhilarating and I remember telling Ira upon my return home that, “I live for days like today.” The high stayed with me while we did a little grocery shopping. I don’t remember what else we had planned for the day, if anything because on the way home we heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Even then, we both thought that it had to be a private plane and decided to check out CNN when we got home. Still exhilarated from my ride, I had no idea how quickly life would change. Exhilaration to devastation in the time it took to turn on the TV. It would take me years before I would give voice to my exaltation of a gorgeous Indian summer day.
This past September 11 morning, I once again took off for a ride on another gorgeous Indian summer morning. The bike was different and the weather although clear and sunny was downright chilly with temperatures only in the upper 40s. The ride was no less exhilarating, however. The leaves on the trees were just beginning to turn and the sun in our Pacific Northwest sky hung a little lower giving a softer glow to the morning. As I pedaled my way through the streets and trails, I couldn’t help but think of that other morning 11 years ago, how life and country had changed. Images that were burned into my memory back then ebbed and flowed—the horror of that day while dulled by the years not forgotten.
I took deep breaths of cool air, felt the quickly warming sun on my face and rode with a renewed sense of strength and energy. I returned home flush from exhilaration and was able to say without guilt or superstition, “I live for days like today!”