I awoke to NPR’s coverage of the attack on New York and DC on September 11, 2001. Like so many other people I’m sure, I couldn’t quite seem to get the cotton out of my head to really comprehend what I was hearing. My brain kept asking, “Is this real?”

As west coasters, few people in our immediate community lost family or friends in the attacks (though, by the law of 6 degrees of separation, there were indeed some). Yet we all felt a need to gather, to be with others to share our shock and grief.

We decided to open our home, The Hallows, to the community (the Hallows serves as something of a community center much of the time, anyway). Anyone who wished was invited to come and just be with others. We had quite a crowd. After spending time comforting each other, the group did some magical work, sending love and guidance to the, doubtless, shocked souls of those who perished.

I mourn for the harshness and anger that seem to have increased in my country in the wake of those attacks. But I remember the heroic efforts of those who worked in rescue and recovery, and I remember the  kindness and humanity of my own community here. And I have hope.