Vanishing Point

I headed home late from the kung-fu school this evening, and all the way along Eighth Avenue I could see the twin beams of light stabbing into the sky from across the river. They light them up every year: two colossal searchlights marking the place where all those people died, and the world changed, seven years ago today. Now that I’m home, I can see them from my back door, where I used to step out at night and see the towers themselves. The people in charge of these things left the lights on for months back in late 2001 and early 2002, but now they only fire them up on the anniversary itself.

The lights are so powerful that on a clear night they reach, effectively, to infinity. They point straight up, of course, but when you see them from a distance they seem to lean toward you as they rise to the zenith. It’s a strange effect, because in the ordinary course of our affairs we simply never see any vertical object of infinite height. But this is curiously fitting, I think; the event they mark had nothing to do with the ordinary course of affairs either — and has also reached, effectively, to infinity.

Related content from Sphere

2 Comments

  1. Kevin Kim says

    Eloquently put.

    Thanks,

    Kevin

    Posted September 12, 2008 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  2. eugene says

    I saw the light last night in Tribeca on Laight St. My vision just could not help to blend it with the vision from my old memory in the similar location before towers were down.
    My friend who came after 9/11 to NYC said it was beautiful. Then I reminded her: “You know, before 9/11/2001, if your were lost in the city, just try to find where those two tower are then you know the direction”.

    Posted September 12, 2008 at 4:04 pm | Permalink