Friday, September 30, 2016

Trump or Terminal

Yesterday I had intended to write a post but got engrossed with paper work. Thinking about what I was going to write about, God help me, Donald Trump came to mind. Sparing myself of that loathsome idea  I took a u-turn mid-air and my thoughts happily traveled to the time I recently spent sitting in the arrival area of the airport terminal at the Stanfield Airport in Halifax.

The decision to write about this was quickly made after reflecting on the good feelings I was left with after going to the airport to pickup my friends who were coming in to Halifax from Seattle on Tuesday. This experience was in stark contrast to the feelings I was left with watching the first Presidential debate that I'm extremely weary of hearing about. I thought, why write about the negative feelings surrounding such a waste of time and energy.

So today I'm going to write about airports and what they tell me about myself.
On Tuesday afternoon I arrived at the Stanfield Airport two hours early before my friends flight landed from Seattle.

Once I navigated the parking situation, oriented myself to my new surroundings, I settled in to a comfortable chair in the arrivals area terminal. I certainly didn't mind being so early. It gave me more time to indulge in one of my favourite past times, people watching.

The security guard I asked for help was very kind and friendly. The two pleasant older gentlemen manning the information kiosk, dressed in their Nova Scotia tartans were so approachable and were very happy to answer my questions about flights and parking.

I watched a young mother fasten her baby daughter's fairy wings, as she spoke German to her and studied for medical flash cards, as she must have been studying to be in the medical field. Another young man who was no doubt waiting with his sweet dark eyed little ones for their mother to arrive. An intellectual looking young woman read a book while she sat at the coffee shop reminded me of another young friend I have and I wondered who she was waiting for. The handsome young airline pilots and beautifully primped flight attendants left me feeling envious of their jet setting life style. and I wondered where they were going next.

I've always loved people watching. At an airport it doesn't get any better. The best part of traveling might seem to be when we arrive at our destination, and traveling in and of itself can be rich with human experience. But all the feelings a person can have are all rolled up into one when we are in an airport. Joy, sadness, excitement, fear, love and affection, happiness and dread. It's a common ground equalizer that we all share in our humanity and simply being ourselves.
"The soul arrives at the speed of a camel" - Arab Proverb

Perhaps the best part of traveling is the anticipation before we even start our journey. Too many of us are in a hurry to get to our destination and we are caught up in the whole stressful preoccupation of what it is we have to do to get there. Instead of living in the present we project into the future, with little time for mindfulness.

However when we are simply sitting, waiting in an airport, we have the opportunity to observe the innocence of children and shear delight of those who are reunited, grandparents hugging grand babies, lovers, friends, parents and children all saying hello or goodbye.

We can see are all types  of people, different life scenarios and snapshots of travelers lives and souls full of wonder providing a feast for the eyes of the observer of people and life.

Airports are like a microcosm of the world in one big mash up, in a particular space and time, a kind of no where land, or non-place. We are striped of our egos and are no different than anyone else in our shared humanity.

Sitting on the edge of observation, not having to arrive or leave for any flight destination caused me to reflect on the beauty of human beings and their inner journeys.
Airports are impermanent portholes, in between places that enable us to stand outside our normal experience and remind us of the people we could be, and that we can always start over. We are only limited by the confines of our own imaginations.

Prior to writing this post I found out Alain de Botton has written about his own experience with being in an airport as an artist in residence. In his book Week at the Airport he writes that airports are "imaginative centres of the modern world."

My airport adventure story left me reflecting on how we are all really traveling pilgrims just passing through, above and beyond our physical human journey, but we are all on an inner journey hopefully making a particular positive change in ourselves. Enjoy your flight, your journey, and your adventure story.


thesycamoretree said...

To watch people with curiosity rather than judgment is an adventure! Good on you for taking that U-turn!

Unknown said...

Exactly Bev! Thank you.

Some might like to live at the airport. Not so practical, but I have to say Alain de Botton's experience of being there for a week as a Writer in Residence must have been pretty enlightening!

I just posted this great quote that I forgot to that he stated in his book A Week at the Airport which is an Arab Proverb.
"The soul arrives at the speed of a camel"