arriving passengers

Airports make me cry.

balloon strut

When I was eleven or twelve years old, I was fascinated by airports. I made a couple of hundred drawings, on yellow legal pads, in number one pencil, as I prefer the softness of them, of ticket counters, baggage carts, kiosks, and people at airports.

youth tour south america

Venezuelan guys wear cool shoes. But they also wear capri pants.

youth tour korea
Pay attention people. These are state forms, they must be filled out correctly. If you were born in Seoul Korea you must put that in box number ten.

tel aviv

Pacing while his entourage waits.

on approach

We spent an hour or so watching arrivals -- all sorts of people from the farthest reaches of the globe. People waiting, watching for loved ones. We watched many reunions.


We watched mothers run to grown children, children traveling alone run to parents, grandparents screaming at the sight of grandchildren. And a family from India who broke through the barricades to greet each other and then would not leave each others arms -- just stood there embracing for long long minutes.

And then I realized why airports make me cry.

It's because the arrival area at the airport --
is what I think heaven is like.



irene said…
oh wow bb, this post is just amazing. thanks for sharing. wow.
Poppy Buxom said…
Blackbird, this is beautiful.

Melissa said…
The last photo is the perfect ending to a lovely post.
FP said…
OK. Now *I'm* crying...
jak said…
They make me cry too- beautiful shoots of airport-thanks for sharing your mommets
Susie Sunshine said…

The balloon boy gave me goosebumps.
jenny said…
very nice post I'll never think of airports quite the same way. And the last picture...perfect.
crystal said…
Oh, I love this post.
christa said…
this was beautiful, bb..
i usually hate airports, just because of all the lines and waiting. now i'll think about it differently.

and kudos to you for taking photos. i'm scared the TSA would be all over my ass if i tried that.
sinda said…
Have you heard this song? Ani DiFranco is the best.

The Arrivals Gate

Gonna go out to the arrivals gate at the airport
And sit there all day
Watch people reuniting
Public affection so exciting
It even makes airports OK
Watching children run
With their arms outstretched
Just to throw those arms
Around their grandpa's neck
Watching lovers plant kisses
Old men to their misses
At their arrivals gate

Watching a mother
With a mother's smile
Don't tell me to move
I just wanna sit here for a while
I have determined
It's a sure cure for cancer
Watching excitement turn family dogs into dancers
At the arrivals gate

I got me a white bread sandwich
With some shredded lettuce
And I got me a ringside view
For my quaint little fetish

I just wanna drain my pink little heart of all its malice
And kick back for the afternoon
In this fluorescent palace

Everybody's in a hurry
Here in purgatory
Except for me
I'm where I need to be

At the arrivals gate
Dixie said…
The arrivals terminal is the best. It's one of the things I love best about living in Europe - the arrivals gates are so lively and happy. You can't be in a crappy mood there.

Beautiful pictures and beautiful words to go with them.
Anonymous said…
Nice Post.
stephlys said…
I really miss meeting people at the gate. It was so much more personal than the mass area. But still, beautiful post.
jo said…
For a few years I worked at logan and that was one of the best (and worst) things about working there. You were always watching a happy reunion, but often right around the corner there would a tearful goodbye.
Beautiful. I feel the same way about airports, how there can be such happiness and sadness at the same time.
Anonymous said…
Oh my gosh, I'm not kidding, i can't seem to make myself stop from welling up, looking at the last photo. I love all the photos but that one is seriously the most evocative one I have seen ... well, maybe ever. I thought all my post-PG hormones were long gone, but for some reason I can't help inserting an insanely tender and heartbreaking context into my view of that photo!

Lovely post.

Julia http://www.tickytacky.typepad.com/tickytacky
lk said…
okay, you've made me cry! Whew.
blackbird said…
thank you all for your very nice words -- and welcome Fluid Pudding fans.

I feel some pressure now to keep up the sentiment, and it's just not possible, else I would become a snivelling, neurotic, crying lump.

oh - I am that already.
well, keep reading.
I'll do my best.
kristin said…
My dearest, oldest dog died yesterday, and your observation about heaven ... well, I've never really been ~that~ sort of dog person, but i hope he's there when i get there. thanks for such a great post.
ginger said…
Wow that's beautiful, I've never stopped to think of airports like that before. Your post is all the more poignant for me as it's close to the anniversary of my dad's death. I guess I'm going to work with tears in my eyes this morning (happy tears). Thank you.
J. said…
Lovely post. It reminds me of the opening and closing credits of "Love Actually"--which was kind of a crap movie, but I loved the real footage of reunions in airports.
halloweenlover said…
Beautiful. Airports make me cry too and this post made me tear up something fierce.

When I arrive somewhere new and there are people to greet me, I always start crying before I even reach the arrivals gate. I am such a sap.
Effie said…
Came over from Fluid Pudding and I have to say--this is such a touching post--the pictures punctuate and tell so much more!
Brit said…
Angie said…
Another cry-baby here. Your beautiful post made me sob my heart out :)

I love airports too and I've just recently had that experience of the in-laws arriving from abroad and my kids running up to greet them. Priceless.
A said…
Blackbird, thank you. Airports have always fascinated me, too.

But I was never certain why.

Thanks for solving a long-puzzled riddle.
SuzanH said…
That's wonderful. We all used to go await family coming in from Europe, and it's strange to me now that it doesn't happen.
jess said…
I think this was the first post of yours I read - and I know you get a lot of hits for it, with good reason. The last time I flew, in October, I kept thinking about what you wrote.
The Daring One said…
That is amazing and the first time I've read it. Thanks.
falwyn said…
I have spent way too much time in way too many airports, and especially now that I'm an adult I find them stressful and generally heinous. (I love the beginning of Douglas Adams' book Mostly Harmless: "Airports are ugly. Some are very ugly. Some acheive a degree of ugliness that can only be the result of special planning...." It goes on.)
However, I love this post. Thanks for the new perspective.
Sanjay M said…
This post is really beautiful. Reminds me of the movie Terminal (Tom Hanks).

Did he have any ritual connected with his writing, I asked? Anything that got the creative juices flowing? "No, no," he laughed, "I can write anywhere, any time. In fact, I find I do some of my best writing in airport departure lounges. There's so much happening around you; all kinds of people doing all kinds of things; children running around, making a noise. I think it's wonderful."

- Rediff: I'm a very boring fellow - RK Narayan
I think this was one of the posts that made me fall in love with you. And made me want to try harder at my own blogging.
Hilary said…
This made me cry... I am so glad I clicked through the archives....

Popular Posts