I travel a bit. Going to the airport to depart to farwaway places has lost a great deal of its luster. I can remember a time when traveling by plane somewhere was a thrill, but those days are long gone.
Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to go many a place and after time away, to return home to North Dakota. It is just that the mechanics of the travel seem to have become commonplace in my life. I am content with folks dropping me off and picking me up at to the curb – no fuss, no muss. Yesterday I was reminded though, as I sat in the seating area outside the security area people watching, that there are many a folk who have different experiences…many folks who linger in the moment.
I will share two moments I witnessed while still in Fargo – one that I found to be quite sad and the other that I found to be terribly endearing. The first was a study in contrasts – my first observation was of a man – a man that by all appearances looked fairly rough and tumble – big, sturdy, tattooed up – durable and not intimidated by much. He was there with what appeared to be his mother, a woman and a child. The woman and child (an adorable little girl that was maybe all of two) were departing and the mother and son were there to see them off.
It was apparent in watching the man and his mother watch the child and her mother move into the security line that it was a difficult parting for the two staying behind (particularly as it related to the little girl). The emotion, while apparent, was tempered in the shadings of polite society – there was no sobbing, no dramatic display of emotion – it was just apparent in the body language and the hasty wiping away of tears over and over again. It was in watching this man, this man who many might find intimidating and assume to be hardened and impenetrable, that I too was moved to tears and reminded of the sadness that one can see in airports.
A second moment I observed between a couple was decidely less dramatic as they parted at security. There were the standard hugs and kisses, but no tears and no dramatic lingering. But on the plane as we sat at the gate waiting to take off I could see the man on the sidewalk outside the fenced area waving at the plane – more accurately waving at his departing mate…not just a single wave – a continuing wave as we backed out of the gate. He wasn’t leaving and wasn’t going to stop waving until we were out of sight. I couldn’t help but smile.
So while my comings and goings have become fairly uneventful there are still thousands of other stories every day playing out in airports that are worth noting – stories that evidence the importance folks place on connectivity with others…the importance folks place on the goodbyes. I found it reaffirming of life and love and it was a great reminder for me as I set out from North Dakota to revisit family and friends that I have not seen for too long. Perhaps there will be another uneventful traveler that will watch my tearful exchange upon my return to the airport next week and the cycle will come full circle…the reminder ever-evident in airports that we all have stories of connectivity that matter.
Day three hundred and eighty-one of the new forty – obla di obla da