This essay was my immediate reation to September 11. It was inspired by Alan Lightman's, "Einstein's Dreams."



by Jane Schreck


I want to live in the world were the passage of time brings increasing order. I want to turn on CNN and see the broken pieces of rubble pick themselves up and float through the air; each jagged, twisted piece happily finding its three dimensional, jigsaw puzzle mate. The tiny minute granular specs would swirl up from the ground and from the air, and circle like the nuclear parts of an atom, attracting other parts of itself until solid, visible elements would form, and take their rightful place in steel and concrete. Each exhale would expel new particles, till every lung was free of the dust of destruction-dust whirling with the smoke of burning jet fuel and human blood. The enormous evil monster-movie cloud that oozed out over and through the streets of New York would be sucked back up. The twins would slowly rise again, floor by floor, block by block, beam by beam; growing and stretching up higher and higher; two arms reaching for God.
As time passed, crushed fire trucks, cars and busses would unbend and untangle. The ground would become ordered and clean again. Parts of planes would glue themselves back together in seamless perfection and be drawn out of the gaping holes. The wounds of the mighty twins would heal up without a scar or trace of pain.

And all the while that manmade structures were putting themselves right, God made particles of human biology would also come together under the watchful eyes of all the doctors, nurses and medical teams. Firemen, policemen, office workers, tourists and all the innocent thousands would slowly be reborn. They would float quietly in the air and be laid gently down as though invisible angel hands placed them there. CNN and ABC and MSNBC and Fox News and the BBC and all the news stations of the world would show this miraculous rebirth. We would see Mayor Juliani asking all the family members to wait patiently behind the police lines until their loved ones could be reunited with them. Each new breath of life would bring cheers from the flag-clutching crowd. And what tearful, joyful reunions they would be. The world would watch it all on TV.

Exactly the same earthly self-ordering would happen in Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. The Pentagon would pop out its ugly gash. The plane would pull out like a giant painful splinter and be put right again, resting on the Pentagon lawn. The innocent government workers and plane passengers would float down like so many gently sleeping newborn babes until they opened their eyes to a new world. Police would be standing by to arrest the terrorists, who also were reborn. In this world of passing time the order is restored to good and evil alike. It knows no difference. But the people have memories and they want revenge. So the bombing and destruction begins all over again. Thousands of the innocent and guilty die brutal deaths. CNN, ABC and the BBC record it all. We see entire countries are wiped out.
But slowly as time passes the whirling dusty particles come together. Buildings and homes rebuild. More invisible angel hands place newly healed bodies down on Muslim soil. The mass destruction is futile. The world rebuilds, the people are reborn again and again. People exhaust themselves out of bombs and terrorism, tired and weary of an infinite chain of powerful acts resulting in powerless outcomes.

Finally people decide to stop the insanity. They talk, they listen, they understand, they learn to embrace all and to cherish all ideals, they change their views, they relax their stringent rules, they learn to love. Love is the only timeless thing-the ultimate goal of Einstein’s best dream. I hope he never wakes up.