I arose before dawn to visit the site in Aurora. Fewer people, more dramatic light, I thought. I set about methodically taking pictures, the first few in the dark, then as the sun rose, through the crosses, amazed at the hundred of teddy bears and stuffed animals, the flowers, flags, books, letters, photographs, and candles burning everywhere. As the sun hit the clouds, the the entire scene was illuminated. Another fellow with a long lens said to me, “How’re you holding up?” “Fine,” I told him. I write about crime and pain and loss. Not too long after that I wasn’t fine. I felt it all for the first time.
The first photo is facing the theater, about 5:30 am. The second, of the sunrise, is facing away from the theater. There were 58 small orange teddy bears with “20” on their shirts, one for each injured person, all in a row, and 12 wooden crosses for those who died. One book beneath the cross read “How to Protect Your Family.”