On airports.


Airports are microcosms of the world. As often as I’m in them, I’m never not fascinated by that. They represent a convergence of stories, emotions, hopes, fears, and dreams from every corner of the globe, all flowing together in a constantly shifting wave of humanness. It generates an energy like no other place in the world, except the world itself.

On any given flight, it’s reasonable (if overly simplified) to assume that a third of the people are leaving home, a third are going home, and another third are just passing through on their way to somewhere else. Some can’t wait to get to who or whatever is waiting for them, and some are dreading it. Some don’t know.

We get drawn in by the energy of it at airport departures and arrivals areas. We can relate to the hugs and tears and heartaches and “text me as soon as you land” moments as much as we can relate to the hugs and tears and elation and the “I’m so happy you’re finally here” moments. Even if she’s just there to pick someone up, my friend S cries every time she’s at an airport; overwhelmed by the sheer force of emotion that surrounds her.

Airports. Secret languages and curious outfits. Harried sprinters and reluctant shufflers. The baby-laden and the carry-on-only. The dawdlers and the dashers. Kids, codgers, couples, crazies. Every person you could ever imagine and ever story you could dream or live is happening right here, right now, at this very moment.

In a few hours the airport will be just as full of people, but they will be totally different people. Except for the airport staff and the long-layover-cursed, nobody who’s here now will be here then. The same world full of new people, never-ending.

Everyone is going everywhere, all the time, and it is terribly beautiful.

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