On September 11th, 2001 I was alone in my apartment on Jay Street in downtown Manhattan when I heard an approaching roar grow louder until it passed over my building, shaking everything. Seconds later was an explosion that knocked me off my feet. I tore down six flights of stairs and out into the middle of Greenwich Street, looking up at the Trade Tower billowing black smoke from the gash in its face. Soon I began to see people stepping onto their window ledges, their faces in focus, and leaping to their deaths. When the second jet banked into view from the West there was a collective gasp all around me, but I was still not comprehending. The fireball from the impact shot up Greenwich Street and over our heads, connecting everyone by our human instincts as we hit the pavement in unison, chests first, and covered our heads. When I stood up I could see a real estate agent I knew from the neighborhood, a father of two who was about the same age that I am now, running up the middle of the street toward me. I don't know why, but as he approached me, I opened my arms to hug him. He ran straight over me, knocking me onto my back, my head striking the pavement so hard that I blacked out for a second. On the ground there is where it dawned on me that I was in a battle zone. I experienced a sense of awe in those moments - a feeling of honor to bear witness to the deaths and heroism of so many people. After the second tower fell I ran toward the site, following in the wake of doctors and nurses who'd commandeered motorcycles and other vehicles and were racing downtown against the fleeing crowds. Over the course of the next week I volunteered at various locations. I was not prepared to do or see the things I did and I suffered for years afterward with nightmares and panic breathing, which haven’t gone away completely. I was taking a break late in the afternoon of the same day it happened, sitting on a ruin and paging through a stack of papers that documented an argument by fax that had gone on between the representatives of two companies over a payment. The loose pages of the file had been bonded together by the heat of the fire and cast out from a high floor of one of the towers to where I was sitting a couple blocks away. I lifted my head, took off my helmet and goggles and rubbed my eyes. Not far away I could see a large piece of broken tinted glass. In the dust on it, someone had written these words with their finger: "Out beyond our ideas of right and wrong there is a field. I will see you there." One of us human ants, scattered and clamoring on this huge pile of rubble, already had the perspective of a thousand years on what had happened. I marveled and thought I must not be as old a soul as I think I am.