Sent: Monday, December 10, 2001 11:48 AM
Subject: Oklahoma City
Wow, as I write this (5:00pm Sunday Dec 9), I have
just come back from a run; down through the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge
and back, the sun was setting and it was a clear day, the bridge was glowing
in the light. I stopped to stretch down by the water, to my left the
bridge, to my right Alcatraz, behind me downtown. It was amazing.
I am often asked what I am going to do when the trip is over, or when I run
out of money. Till now I have treated both questions as the same, but I
now see them differently. In some fashion or another, I don't think the
adventure will ever end; as for when I run out of money (warning!
foreshadowing!) I think I will probably come back to San Francisco and get
some kind of work (enough to pay the bills and live a little) until Burning
Man 2002 and then come up with the next idea. At least that's the
current plan. This city has just about everything you could ask for and
I feel like my life would not be complete if I didn't live here for at least a
...but back to the story, I woke up in my Oklahoma
city Wal-Mart and mad my way downtown to visit the Oklahoma City National
Memorial, built on the former site of the Federal Building destroyed there in
the mid-90's. My timing was almost spooky, visiting on October 10th,
just one day short of one month since the bombings on September 11th.
It's hard to describe the sensation of being there, they have done the most
amazing job of honoring the victims, this sounds trite, but it is the kind of
place I think every American should visit (I know I said the same thing about
Graceland, but if you have to choose come here instead). Each end of the
site is marked with these large gateways, and on the inside one is marked with
the time 9:01, the other 9:03; the bomb went off at 9:02. It is very
powerful. Along the sidewalk leading in, there is a stretch of fencing
that people have placed items honoring the victims. I was there for
about 45 minutes, and my eyes leaked tears the entire time.
To honor the victims of the attack, they have
field with a chair for each person who died, large ones for adults, smaller
for children. They are arranged by floor of the building. It makes
it possible to get a sense of the scope of the tragedy. It seemed too
hard to get a grasp on September 11, it is hard to comprehend 5000 people
gone and the World Trade Center reduced to rubble. Stopping
here gave me a chance to remember the victims of Oklahoma City and feel
sorrow, not just for them, but for the events of September 11, which until
then had only been shock and disbelief.
After my time there, I headed out for the long
drive to the very end of the Oklahoma Panhandle to hike the state highpoint