I had run out of film and decided not to reload. Looking through a camera had started to distance me from the reality
so I felt I'd retrace my path and just LOOK. First I made a detour further south to the Museum of the American Indian to grab
a cup of coffee and rest. That was where the second shock of reality hit me. A big sign outside of the building stated no
sharp objects or guns allowed. Inside was a checkpoint where 2 guards inspected my bags. I was grateful for the security,
but never had this happened at a museum! The rest of Manhattan might be returning to 'normal' but down here it was still very
much a 'war zone'.
Upon returning to the Ground Zero area, I decided not to walk the barricades but go north on a parallel
street. Here, too, the pedestrians were walking slowly and stopping to look down the cross streets that afforded a view of
The Pile. I also then became aware of the dust that was everywhere. Some shops had not reopened. Inside EVERYTHING was covered
with that gray ash. Even if the windows had not been broken, it seemed to have seeped through every tiny crack. Cars were
covered, my scalp felt gritty, and I was beginning to cough. One building I passed had some quite deep crevices in its facade.
I stopped and looked and saw small mounds of the ash piled in the corner, protected from the past week's rains. I stooped
down and touched it and a chill ran through me. This was a piece of the towers! I dug in my handbag, located a plastic bag
and gently scooped up a handful of this ash. Once again the tears came as I placed this precious package into my pocket.
When I reached the northern perimeter it was much like the rest. Only the smell was worse. With the wind
blowing north, you could feel that something was actively burning even though it was out of site. I proceeded down to my starting
point. I had to see that area and smell that smell again to make it all real. It didn't hit me as hard, but the tears, once
Before I descended the stairs to the subway, I took one more look at the people moving along the barricade.
Thanks to the TV news stations, we all have gotten excellent shots of Ground Zero from the air, The Pile up close,