The bird in the airport.
You know the one I mean.
The little bird you see hopping around near the unused gate. Out of place, confused, yet hopeful. Surely there’s a way out of this giant place, but none of the doors or windows ever seem to open.
I find myself worrying about this little guy, even while dragging myself through terminals with too much hanging from my shoulders and more often than not, too much time on my hands due to canceled or delayed flights.
He seems to make the best of his situation. Scampering about looking for crumbs. Staying out of the way of heavy suitcases and beeping trams. At least he’s sheltered from the outside, no worries of a sudden storm or fierce wind blowing it from a tree limb.
But does he ever feel the sun on his feathers?
Does he miss flying close to the sky? Has he ever done so?
Does he sense that there’s something he’s missing, that’s just a few feet away, waiting for him?
Do you ever feel like that? Trapped in the same routine, the same life plan, walking the same path day after day, not even noticing anymore that there is something else out there?
It’s so much easier to just stay where you are. On the couch. At the kitchen table. Sitting by the phone. Places that don’t really connect to your soul; yet have become comfortable and familiar.
Because getting out there…finding a way out to the great beyond…is difficult. And scary. And unpredictable.
And there’s nothing wrong with sitting still, staying where you are, and finding peace in the familiar. As long as it is what you truly want. And if you’ve had a lifetime of taking risks and putting yourself out there, you’ve more than earned some sit-still time.
But if you start to feel confined…if you can’t remember how you got where you are…if you’ve stopped listening to what heart and soul is saying….that’s another story.
It’s hard enough to negotiate the airport, much less free your spirit to take wing.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
Emily Dickinson, “Hope is the thing with feathers”
It’s a good idea to remember that those around us might be just as unsure of where they want to be. Their days might not be filled with the people or the activities they’d like. They might be dreaming of taking flight, yet they are realizing those days might have past. So when our paths intersect, maybe we can cut the other person a little more slack.
Because even when we’re not “going somewhere”, we are still on a journey. And kindness from strangers is always welcome—as well as from those we know very well.
Maybe next time you’re in the airport, leave a few extra crumbs on your chair. It might mean the world.
“You haven’t seen a tree until you’ve seen its shadow from the sky.”