Ten years ago my sons were eight and four years old. We had a small room, not much bigger than a walk-in closet, that we used as the “lego space.” Both boys were avid builders. Those first days, after hearing the news, I sat in the room with my youngest son while he and I played. Without thinking about what I was doing, I constructed towers. Solid, tall, colorful, beautiful towers. During the few hours in the morning that he went to preschool, I went back into the room and kept building. I didn’t recognize what I was doing that first week. I built with those legos until the tips of my fingers were sore.

Solid lego towers use up hundreds of bricks. Eventually they were needed for other buildings. There were castles and shops. Airports. Pizza parlors. Slowly my lego towers were taken apart and used again. It’s an apt metaphor. When disaster strikes, work through grief, then build and rebuild, not to put the past aside but to use it as a base for an ongoing life.

I have one tower left. It’s not the biggest, or the prettiest, but I’ve had it above my office bookcase for years. It’s solid all the way through.


  1. I’m remembering too.
    I remember standing on top of the tower, feeling on top of the world – it was my birthday!

    I remember all the smiling people and the people rushing about their working day.

    I love your solid colourful lego tower.


    • Yes, and when you looked down out those windows it looked like the building was arcing away from you so that it was as if you were on a precipice.

  2. I come to this blog to see your beautiful animals and hear about your life as mother, author, hen goddess, wife. It has become a piece of my day. I too am a Lego mom. My son is 24. Your Lego tower is a beautiful metaphor and a solid reminder that we are now 9/12 people.
    Thank you,

    • The boys grow up, but we’re still “lego moms” aren’t we? I like the appellation of “hen goddess” although I’d say my chickens consider me a more of a servant.

  3. We’ve been talking about this with my SIL, who is a Crisis Management Coordinator (she’s on those teams sent places when something awful happens, to deal with the aftermath, like counselors in schools, after someone dies). A lot of people in our country haven’t dealt with the trauma they were exposed to that day, and it really shows, in how the fears still intrude in public life. Of course, there is a fine line between caution that comes from new knowledge, and fear based on fear.

    Accepting the feelings, feeling them, identifying them, then letting them go as they drift by, helps. Sitting with your son, building towers, sounds like it was healthy, to me.

  4. Thanks. Terry, for sharing your story.

    One of the saddest parts of 9/11 is the damage we have inflicted on ourselves since then. Colleen describes it eloquently.

  5. I wasn’t sure that I’d say anything about the day, but couldn’t post my normal chicken-centric post either. I spent a lot of time mulling over what I’d say if I did say something, so it’s gratifying to get such a warm response to my thoughts.

    • Warm and appreciative, and supportive. You did a good thing that day, for your son and yourself as well. I love the remaining tower on your bookcase.

      BTW, you may not have noticed when you posted it, but there’s a chicken in that photo. ;)

      • There’s chickens everywhere. The Chinese cat on the shelf has a chicken on her head. Those two shelves contain some of my vintage chicken keeping books.

  6. Thank you Terry. I’m so glad you posted this.
    It even inspired me to write about 9/11 for myself… You’re truly an amazing writer, far beyond the fun of chickens! This was probably my favorite piece of writing commemorating 9/11 that I’ve read all day.

  7. Wonderful and wise – thank you Terry. By the way, did you know that Siouxie and Tina took over Candy’s hutch this morning, perhaps auditioning for the job of egg layers to the Easter Bunny?

    • For some reason, the Polish go up the ramp and Candy doesn’t care! I think the rabbit is getting mellow in her old age. But, I don’t think the other hens dare try it. Tina and Souxsie are too clueless to worry.

      • Just saw Her Ladyship slurp up a strip of corn leaf like a strand of spaghetti! So funny.

        BTW..this was a lovely blog post. Sad to think that your boys have really only known a post-911 world.