On the Ground

It’s a beautiful day out there in the San Francisco bay, but there’s no way for me to touch it here in the hermetically sealed airport.

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I’m waiting for my flight to board. It’s been delayed which is a good thing: it gives me a little time to write a bit. Of course now my mind goes blank.

In the distance I hear the crowd waiting at the gate. A child screams. But I sit here in front of a panorama of planes, sea, birds and tarmac.

I wonder if the child will be sitting next to me?

A hawk is soaring outside the window. It banks and glides, flaunting its freedom.

Inside, I feel peace. The nervous excitement has trickled away, and the pepperoni pizza lunch has left me grounded and calm. Around me I hear Italian, German, and English conversations backed by the gentle beat of the moving walkways. Loudspeakers announce random names, delays, regulations. The whole building vibrates with work and activity but right here, in this bright spot by the window, I feel peace.

Tomorrow’s another day, another time zone, another language.

I’ve been away from home for only seven hours and it’s already clear that I’m carrying too much. My love of reading, and of books, weighs me down. I find myself feverishly reading Cousin Bazilio. Sure, it’s a good book, but it’s also heavy, and I want to abandon it. I question the other two (!) books I’m carrying. Their days are numbered in minutes. I pass the airport bookstores and see only paperweights.

I wonder what else is in this backpack? What was I so certain I needed?

This laptop, I guess.

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