In which I inadvertently break the law, get caught and love every second of it.
In the prequel to the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, called The Magician’s Nephew, the main character finds himself in a forest that is completely still and littered with ponds every few feet. When he jumps into these ponds, he is transported to other worlds. From this forest, he travels to a dying universe, then witnesses the birth of Narnia. This is my favorite place in all the Chronicles of Narnia.
The pond-forest is neither here nor there. It is the space between the places. It represents the unlimited possibilities of place.
Airports are the pond-forest of our world, and for that reason, I love them. Sure, there is a lot of stress and frequent rushing. But there’s also a lot of waiting and thinking. Thinking about where you’ve been and where you’re going. And you’re EXPECTED to wait. It is a decompression chamber where you prepare to change who you are.
Because the places beyond those portals, they are SO different… and life is so different at each of them… that they change who YOU are.
Seeing how different people live. Getting a bigger picture of the world. People cannot be unchanged by travel.
Of all the airports I have been to in the world, I have spent the most time at Saarinen’s TWA terminal at JFK Airport in NY (see my bio for why). This building didn’t just provide a resting place between here and your destination; it propelled you into the future.
I hadn’t been inside for 20 years. Until Monday.
I am in NY directing an episode for a new TV show for SyFy Network and I found myself waiting for my luggage across the street from this old friend.
I had to find out if I could go inside, so I went to the much promoted “Just Ask” desk and luckily, the woman didn’t know. “I think it’s a museum now. Try the door. If it’s open, it’s open.” Never have wiser words been uttered.
I found that the two sets of doors that were supposed to keep me out were unlocked. And so went through… and for 15 glorious minutes, I had the building to myself.
I sat on the benches; I crossed the bridge; went up and down stairs… and then security came and kicked me out.
I have been there, and I tell you… It is still a cathedral to the promise of the world. Connecting past and future; far and close; you, and yourself.
It says, “Take a rest. Great things await you.”