Yesterday afternoon I was eating brunch with a friend at an outdoor eatery on the Hudson River. It was idyllic, truly.

Somewhere after eating and while sipping a bellini, a man at the next table began choking. He was with his extended family and someone at the table knew the Heimlich maneuver. It took about three tries, but finally the piece of meat causing the problem was expelled.

It was one of the longest minutes of my life, as I honestly felt I was about to witness death. It was minutes before I could speak. My friend was just as speechless. It left me reeling.

Much later in the day I caught the end of a documentary on September 11th. As the credits rolled, the camera was on a woman who reached for a pair of clean, well-creased white pants lying next to her. She held them up to the camera and said these were the pants she was wearing that day. She described how she washed them and washed them time after time trying to get them clean, knowing full well she was trying to metaphorically wash away the evil of the day.

“Unfortunately they don’t fit anymore, but they’re clean,” she said with a smile.

The theme of the day — Life is precious.