This was a very busy airport at one time.
If I close my eyes, I can remember this ramp, with cars and buses, honking; people loading and unloading suitcases; families, visitors, good friends, old friends.
Opening them, the wind is blowing in from the north, cold and hollow. There’s nobody around for miles.
Airports are, if you think about it, one of the pinnacles of our civilization in terms of technology. And, like all of the most breathtaking and amazing technologies, within a generation or so, we pass by them without thought or remark. In fact, air travelers these days probably think about the inconveniences of air travel more than the miracle that is flying, roughly in a ratio of 10,000 to 1.
Except for children, of course, who crowd up to windows at airports and in planes to look at the things adults and teens are too distracted to bother with.
As jaded and indifferent adults, there’s even a part of us that views our ancestors as being something like children for getting so excited over things like airplanes and flying. Which is indefensibly wrong, of course. It is we who have come to view things poorly through the distorting lens of abundance.
To whom much is given, much is taken for granted, it seems.
Once, we flew out of this airport: many of us, heads down, minds preoccupied, harried, distracted. When it closed, it was articles in the news, and hand-wringing, and council reports; followed by fences, and barbed wire, and cracks in parking lots and runways. Now I stand here in the presence of ghosts, as I am most places I go these days.
It’s like the little store or restaurant you used to love that closes one day, where you find yourself wishing you’d gone a little more often. A friend you lost, a miracle — one you should have appreciated more, while you still had the chance.
But we are built to live, not necessarily to live wisely. Yes, once we flew, and perhaps we will fly again in dreams; but the sun is going down, now, and all the ghosts I hear in the wind are telling me it’s time to move on.