"a screaming comes across the sky."

A crazy sounding guy on the skytrain this morning, after the usual attempt to get my phone number, told me that planes were flying in to buildings in new york. I give him yet another skeptical look and leave the train.

I get in to work at 6:30am PST, and the US markets are all down. The TSE is down hundreds of points and it's barely open. I wander to the photocopier and am arrested by the sight of the TV in the compliance officer's office: new york is burning.

an hour later the TSE finally gets shut down. a client calls in, wondering what the market will do. I don't know, I tell her. They're closed for now. When they come back, well.. it'll be volatile, I say. The office is not volatile, the office is deadly silent except for the steady intertwined whining of AM news radio and TV news announcers, every face watching a TV screen or like me, playing reload reload reload with internet news sites, trying to find one with some answers. or at least some questions, to start.

a friend in toronto says all the bank towers are evacuating as a precaution. I smile, sitting on the 27th floor of a bank tower, remembering how long it took to get all the way down for a false alarm once. But whatever. I'm in lotus-land Vancouver, not wall street. Wall Street. It will be chaos in my industry for a while. Not just the terrorism, the effect that'll have short-term on the US's economy and markets, but all the little nagging logistics: lost paperwork, lost data, lost.. lost people. 110x2 floors of mostly finance, I gather. How many head offices in New York, how many headless companies now? I don't know. No one knows. No one is really asking more than half-heartedly. It's too big to apprehend all at once. Rome is burning while I fiddle, and fiddling seems wrong but what else is there to do but play?

I feel like giving blood, but I'm still not eligible to until May. I leave work at about 10. There's no business to be done today, and probably none tomorrow. I wander home, a bit dazed, stopping at the library. I end up taking out two copies of the same book by accident. I idle briefly in the section on religion, looking for something comforting. A book of homilies doesn't cut it. I consider cracking open the bible of all things at home, but the sunshine and sweet air on the way home seem to work best. The christian bible seems somehow irrelevent, for it contains god's covenent with man, the rainbow. If god's word is good, this was no act of His, but of men. Men are a little harder to come to terms with.

At school I wish I had a camera. Hundreds of students and staff, gathered around TVs like campfires, bewilderedly sucking in flickering images of fire. Fire where I don't find out, but watching seems to be a duty or at least something that can substitute for duty in the strange empty place this has opened up. I pause three times on my way through the corridor, caught in the silent zeitgeist of watching, watching, watching.

Chemistry class is cut short, but we learn the basics of naming things. It seems a comfort too. I name things all the way home, trying in some way to erase some of the vast unnaming that has taken place today. I get home and learn of a vigil at my church. I leave yet again and go to church. Short notice, only a silent dozen. Eventually some readings, some piano, some ragged hymns. We join hands and then dissipate in to the night, a little calmer.


What a storm has been released.