Humanity, kindness, and connection in an airport. In these days when emotions are running high and religious and ethnic tensions are running higher, we all need something to hang onto. Some common ground. And a cookie.
This is a well-timed story, beautifully told by one of its main characters, poet Naomi Shihab Nye.
(And before you go poking holes in it, the woman was taking a domestic flight, so the items she was carrying were permitted.)
Nye, a regular traveler, is often inspired in airports and planes. Here’s my favorite of her poems.
“Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting”
A small striped sleeve in her lap,
navy and white,
needles carefully whipping in yarn
from two sides.
She reminds me of the wide-angled women
filled with calm
I pretended I was related to
In the next seat
a yellow burst of wool
grows into a hat with a tassel.
She looks young to crochet.
I’m glad history isn’t totally lost.
Her silver hook dips gracefuly.
And when’s the last time you saw
anyone sew a pocket onto a gray linen shirt
Her stitches must be invisible.
A bevelled thimble glitters in the light.
On Mother’s Day
three women who aren’t together
conduct delicate operations
in adjoining seats
between La Guardia and Dallas.
Miraculously, they never speak.
Three different kinds of needles,
three snippy scissors,
everybody else on the plane
snoozing with The Times.
When the flight attendant
offers free wine to celebrate,
you’d think they’d sit back,
chat a minute,
tell who they’re making it for,
But a grave separateness
has invaded the world.
They sip with eyes shut
and never say
Look at us
May your thread
May your thread never break.