Airport nostalgia

31 October 2020
31 Oct 2020

This is an excerpt from today’s issue of my weekly newsletter.

There’s a particular flavor of silence that greets the early-morning travelers of an airport terminal. A kind of silence that whispers and echoes, waking you up from your nap on the train as you shuffle your way to a 7AM flight. The terminals are still mostly empty this early. The occasional cleaning crew sweeps by, only a few of the stores have even opened up yet. The only thing that disturbs the peace of orange sunrise pouring through the window is the occasional announcement ringing through the nearly empty terminals, reminding soon-to-be aeronauts of their imminent ascension beyond the clouds.

Boston Logan Airport at dawn

Whenever I was endowed with the odd luck of an early morning flight, I always noticed the kind of serenity hiding anticipation that awaited these terminals at daybreak. I’d break my slumber with a bagel and some overpriced orange juice, always available from the un-branded mini-stores that seem to have colonized airports around the world. I’d unwrap the bagel from the bag as the crinkling noise broke the silence of the terminal for a moment, then sit down in one of the many empty chairs near the boarding gate, counting down the minutes until the hum of idling jet engines would chase out my quiet.

As I sat in one of those airport benches, I’d sometimes notice how the early morning sunlight would stream nearly horizontally through the windows to hit the tall part of the wall opposite the windows, coloring with warmth a part of the wall that won’t feel that same light again until that time again tomorrow. A fleeting warmth, with a promise of a return.

There’s also a mix of anticipation in these pre-boarding moments of peace, awaiting immiment flight – being transported above the curvature of the Earth through the atmosphere, to find myself in an unfamiliar place, ready to explore, to breathe in new scents, to hear new sounds, to taste new flavors, and still, to greet the same warmth of the orange morning sun.

I miss that silence, drenched in orange sunrise, scented with anticipation, echoing through the terminal to greet the tired travelers—airport nostalgia.


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