Like dreams, airplanes require a lot of work to take flight

Some of my earliest memories were going to the old ATL airport and waiting for dad to fly in from a business trip. My mother would take me up to the observation area and I’d watch the parade of planes take off and land. I remember the first time the “new” ATL airport opened. We rode the underground trains to go to and from our flights — it was like Disney World without the Mouse. Recently I flew through Hartsfield-Jackson and remembered those trips as I was running like a bat out of C-Concourse so I could make my flight. Atlanta is no longer where I live and the airport is no longer my final destination. Home is another flight away.

As I waited for the tiny plane to Jackson to board, I stood at the end of the concourse watching the world’s busiest airport in action (there wasn’t a ground stop because of thunderstorms — I was grateful). Planes clawed up into the air like overweight pelicans while others glided gently back to earth like hungry gulls. The concourse looked like someone had kicked over a human ant nest. Soldiers traveled to far off destinations. Parents drug their protesting kids along. People quickly drug their suitcases behind while beeping carts parted the mass of humanity like Moses. Yes, it was chaotic — but there was a visual poetry behind it all. Everything worked because of its purpose. It wasn’t confusion for confusion sake.

I looked out the window at the control tower. Its domain is the five runways before it. Like a conductor at frenetic symphony, they kept things in order. If they didn’t — well, there’d be twisted wreckage watered by tears.

As I was sitting there eating my grossly over-priced airport burrito, I thought about what a great metaphor the ATL airport is for life. It’s what makes your destination and plans possible. It’s chaos, but it works because of purpose. There is a healthy dose of faith and action. Planning behind the scenes makes everything work. Well, planning plus execution. I’m sitting here this morning, thinking about where I want to go in the next few years. Like the big screens on the wall, I’m thinking about my arrivals and my departures.

Like airplanes, dreams require a lot of work to take flight.

They say you have to go through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to get to heaven or hell. There’s probably more truth to that old joke than we all know.

About Marshall Ramsey