Sunday, September 11

Etching movements in the sky

The essential thing is to etch movements in the sky, movements so still they leave no trace. The essential thing is simplicity. That is why the long path to perfection is horizontal. — Philippe Petit
Today, I choose not to remember them as towers of steel or cement or glass. Nor as towers of light in the bugled air. And certainly not as exploding hives or  doomed smoldering pyres. No, I do not want to recall how they fell. Today, I prefer to remember them as they swayed, while they swung and rolled the rope under the feet of the beautiful madchild who loved them so.
If you have not seen the film Man on Wire documenting high-wire artist Philippe Petit's incredible feat of August 7, 1974, I recommend it and leave some video embeds and links below. Click on the film's name to see the trailer. 
The video below captures some of the best photos of the day and shots from the film:

For news footage from that day, including helicopter views and interview with the police officer who arrested him, see the following clip:

I recommend viewing the videos in full screen mode and at the highest definition available. Click on this link to see a slideshow of Petit's astonishing stroll, with Leon Russell singing "Tightrope" as soundtrack.

To those who built them high
and those who gaped below,
to those who tumbled down
and those who combed the rubble.

And to those of us
who see them yet,
our still hearts clutched
on the quivering wire,
pilgrims perched on this traceless trail.


  1. Thank you, Lorenzo. I've watched these before. To me, they remain a testament to the possible.

  2. thank you for reminding us of a bit of the magic of those giants and what happened between them....good to see you friend...

  3. "Long ago, long ago. The simple things come back to us. They rest for a moment by our ribcages then suddenly reach in and twist our hearts a notch backward."
    from "Let the Great World Spin" by Colum McCann

    Thanks Lorenzo, for these beautiful words and wrenching, lovely photos. As that police officer said: "supreme."

  4. I can't imagine a better image — real, physical, yet metaphorical — for NO FEAR. May we live our days with this in mind, September elevens, and all days.

    Someone dug out a photo from the '90s when we dismantled Don's parents' house a couple weeks ago, of Lesley & Peter romping at the edge of the bay in NJ when we visited their grandparents there, the photo's backdrop of the NYC skyline with the two towers.

    Thanks for for your way of remembering, like jazz, with sway and swing. Imagine the wind on that string.

  5. Love your memory of them of life and living - the photo is breathtaking in the shadow of an airliner...bkm

  6. This is a fabulous way to remember the towers. I am with you in wanting to remember them this way. I did see Man on Wire - talk about an amazing experience! Lordy!

    Glad to see you back on the blog circuit. :)

  7. Yes, this is perhaps the best way to remember the towers. I've seen the film and was mesmerized by it. Glad to have you back, Lorenzo. We've missed you!

  8. Thank you for seeing them, still, and for giving them back to us in this way. It is so good to have you back!

  9. Thanks for one of the loveliest remembrances I've seen. That last line is to me the sweetest, "pilgrims perched on this traceless trail."

  10. I love what you chose to remember. Thank you. Man on Wire is a favorite of mine - and I have watched it 2x in the last 10 years just to remember the Towers in the same way you have commemorated here.

  11. Beautiful. I agree, a wonderful way to remember them.

  12. i felt the strangest mix of sadness, joy and awe watching this. thank you lorenzo (good to see you-it's been a while!)

  13. always great to see you lorenzo...thanks for the warm wishes on my gramma...i hope that you have a lovely holiday season...


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