Although I rushed, I suspected that with only an hour transfer time, I might, and did miss my connecting flight from Paris to Napoli, Italy. The next flight was three hours later, and although tired, after drinking a cappuccino and eating a sandwich, I felt less like a zombie from the seven hour red-eye flight on which I did not sleep, and more incline to walk around, reconnect with my body and browse my surroundings.
As I became more in the world on the morning of July 14 I was struck by the exquisite beauty of Terminal 2E, which was opened March 2008. This glass held by steel structure is an aesthetic dream, open and inviting, but also vulnerable and exposed. It was a gorgeous, sunny morning and the sun, burnishing the glass, warmed my body and heart. The sky was too blue to not have been photoshopped, the clouds too white, seemingly so close above my head I could reach up and pull a piece of its cotton to stuff the drumming sound in my ears. I was overcome with a hopeful feeling, and felt as if I was walking outside.
I am often moved by things in my environment, whether it's the nuances I observe in the exchanges between people, or flowers in bloom, or a delightful insect at play or scrounging for food, or the feel of the wind on my arm, or the assured smile of a strange, I am always open to be moved and moved I was by this architectural feat. I couldn't resist the temptation, and seeing that I had my camera, I decided I would snap some shots and hope there wouldn't be any objections to photographing in this airport like it was in Argentina, last year when I visited.
At first I was subtle, trying to look like I was not photographing, fearing reprisal -- although ludicrous, I might be mistaken for a terrorist-- anything is possible these days, but after seeing a few others, more boldly taking photos, I uncovered my camera and walked around seeking the best angles. I loved the feeling of being outside, floating above the ground, halfway between the clouds. I was amazed to see pale yellow butterflies, flitting again the glass, to be able to see and feel so close to the planes landing and taking off. Such profound exposure, such indulgent intimacy.
I tired to imagine what the architect must have thought about as he was designing this structure. What does he like to eat? What was his process? Did he neglect his family while he was busy at the design? What inspired him? How was he as a child, and what memory from his innocent beginnings provoked and prompted this diagram? Perhaps he is like me with no curtains at his open window, the sun sailing in through in the morning, darkness shadowing at night. I though about the young Jamaican architect, graduate of MIT that I had crush on when I was nineteen. Where was he now? What buildings had be designed? And I thought about steel and glass and how these two primary materials were used throughout this building to both secure and enhance it. Then there were the thousands, if not millions of people that have and will pass through its corridors, and leave a piece of themselves in the transition. What story would I leave behind in the bathroom, in the cafe, on the chairs on which I sat, on the walls I touch, on the floor on which I walked?
What story was the pale yellow butterfly trying to tell me as it flitted and fluttered by the glass out of which I stared? From how far did it come? I scanned to find a flower that might attract it, but saw none. Then too there was the bird, and I worried, remembering the plane that went down on the Hudson River in New York earlier this year because of birds being sucked to their death by the engine, and in return having revenge -- for their place, the sky, being invaded by iron birds, their enemy. My head quivered with all the thoughts, so many stories in this transient place, where thousands of people pass through daily, each with their own story.
The three hours went by quickly as I walked around, admiring the angles, the shapes, the interplay of glass, steel, outside and inside. I wondered how many people, like me, were grateful to pass the time in such a place where you were safe, but not shut off, where you could bask in the immediate beauty of your surrounds and feel as if you were touching the world.
So many stories, with only lens with which to write.
Causes Opal Adisa Supports
California Poets in the Schools
Homeless Shelter for Pregnant Women