Airports have been the backdrop of some of my best and worst days. They are like vacuums, containers of every single human emotion that has ever been felt – every loss, every heartbreak, every love, every yearning, every adventure, every tragedy, every ambivalence, every connection, every reunion. It’s captivating, really, this pinnacle of human experience.
Yesterday, in the span of twenty minutes spent waiting for one of my dear friends to arrive in Denver after spending four months in Madagascar, with nothing more important to do than soak up the energy around me, I watched. I watched people waiting, slowly pacing back and forth in anxious anticipation of a loved one. I watched people ecstatically examining their books on India and Germany and Bolivia, daydreaming about the grand odyssey they were about to embark on. I watched people run, trying to frantically catch a flight, or into the comfort of a familiar embrace. I watched strangers make small talk and lovers struggle to form sentences at all. I watched countless smiles erupt, countless tears fall. I watched people who, like me, were having their best and worst days in this very airport. I was a witness to heartache and a testifier to unimaginable devotion.
At one point, it struck me that this was truly the first time in my life that I was in an airport and I wasn’t leaving or returning, coming or going. I wasn’t bursting with nervous excitement for an unknown feat and I wasn’t broken with the realization that life, as I had known it, would never be the same. For the first time, I was just watching, I was still, I was at peace. I smiled to myself, untroubled in my soul and full in my heart, watching the beautiful complexity of this life unfold around me in a surge of vast fervency.