An Ode to Airports

There is a certain thrill about being in an airport again.

That lingering sense of sleep behind your temples, what ungodly hour did I have to wake up at today?

That early morning coffee, nudging you alive from the inside out.

That sense of excitement. What magic lies on the other side?

I still get those childish butterflies of adventure. It still makes me leap and tumble inside.

My mind spirals backwards in time. A 3 year old, sitting beside my mother, staring out the window. At this age, I developed a fear of the clouds. I don’t know why, but something about them made me realise we were not on terra firma. What happens if we fall?

She pacified me with tales of candy floss and complicated science. It still baffles me how we seem to suspend in air, not moving at any speed at all. Yet when you look up, or come in for landing we zoom and bump and screech just like any other landed vehicle. How does that happen?!

Fast forward to my pre-teens, the Harry Potter years. Summers now were spent between family in India and family in America. An involuntary tear comes to my eye, a gentle tug at my heart. How carefree those summers were? Long and luxurious. 8 weeks off, I can’t even dream of that anymore. 8 weeks of dedicated family time, outings, trips, dinners, games and what would turn out to be the most incredible bond one could have. Who says distance should create boundaries? Out of sight, out of mind my foot.

And then the young adult, freshly fledged from school. Ready to take on the world. Invincible, unshakable, unstoppable, unbreakable. The world is your oyster. Every answer is a yes. Every song sung, every taste savoured, every stone turned.

And then something happens. This thing called adulthood grips you. Like a vice you did not even know was holding you tight. Strong and stealthy, bending you to its will. Where airports now signify escape. Where time is all there is, empty canvass walls to paint and fill. Your story is your own. Peace, tranquility, adventure, escape.

And finally, that book. That book that has sat next to your bedside table longing to be held, like a temptress, can now at last be given your full undivided attention.

I’ve lost myself to the amber sunrise in my candy floss sky.

I’m in my happy place.

I’ll see you on the other side.


Sunset at Island Hill – Newtownards, Northern Ireland


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