Up, Up and Away

by MW Cook

I’ve been in a few airports in my day. And I’ve loved each and every one. From LHR to KHI. From AUH to YYZ. I love them all. I didn’t know why at first, but I’m starting to understand where my love for airports comes from.

  • They give me a sense of man’s smallness. The sky is so large in the area around an airport. Especially those glorious ones where you have to walk out onto the tarmac to board. Nothing has ever looked so big as that mighty sky, daring us puny creatures to mount it. And so we enter our tiny tin vehicles and beg the air to lift us. And I feel so small as we rise, so fragile as our ship pushes out into that largest of oceans.
  • They give me a sense of man’s ingenuity. Small, but look how clever! With rock from the ground we have fashioned for ourselves heavy machines that lift us high above the ground and send us faster than any bird can fly! How clever! And when I think of the cleverness of my race I cannot help but think about the cleverness of the One who spawned us.
  • They remind me we are all brothers and sisters. Here is a man from Germany, walking past a family from India. There is an old woman from Asia, getting directions from a friendly African. And we are all the same. There are no visible minorities in an airport. We are all the same. We are all the same kind of spirit beast, wandering around in our machines of flesh. There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. There is only that great and mighty ‘we’.
  • Every day at the airport is a special day. Reunions after long absences. Preparations for travel to exotic places. Adventure. Quests. And everyone around you is on a quest, going or coming. Better than any video game!
  • They feel more real than other places. Why is that? It’s hard to say. The food seems more nourishing, despite its low quality. The air seems richer, though recycled. The things you touch are more solid. The sounds are less ethereal. The people are more human. The machines and more mechanic. I cannot say what it is, but there is something deeply real in airports.
  • They remind me of how everything is transient. You never stay in an airport long. You must always move on. And so it speaks for life. I cannot live in YYZ or KHI, as much as I think I’d like to. I need to board a plane, eventually, and move on. And that thrill of adventure to a higher place is a good thing to be reminded of.