Limits, boundaries

I was 9 hours, one red-eye flight, and quick puddle-jumper-hop into my journey to Canada when I was stopped cold at Gate C10. “I’m sorry, your flight to Victoria was canceled. You can try to fly stand-by on the 2:45, or the 6:30pm, but the earliest flight we can book you on is the 11:00pm. We’re reeeaaaalllly sorry ‘bout that.”

It was 11:00am.

I was looking at 12 hours in SeaTac. Had I gotten more sleep on my first one or two flights, I would have jumped the light rail into downtown Seattle and wandered the streets. Caught up with friends. Played tourist. But the energy and alertness required for even a small adventure just wasn’t there. I was feeling the metallic twinge of no-sleep-exhaustion. I was afraid to nap for fear of missing all alarms, and my flight. Fatigue was my leash.

So I mentally hunkered down and prepared to get to know my temporary neighborhood. I had an iPhone, and therefore a camera, and an audience. I had clearly defined boundaries: 12-hours, and one airport. I felt an art project coming on. If I couldn’t venture out, I would delve in to this space.

It was a bit like living on an island. Security gates were the shore, and I had no boat. But no worries. My island had light, and lines, both curvy and straight.  I was on a treasure hunt.

Setting boundaries can bring clarity, texture, and depth to your immediate surroundings. Limit the periphery, cut out the glare, and you can see more clearly. The limitation of one direction of movement doesn’t mean stagnation. It doesn’t mean a lack of exploration or growth; it simply means a change of focus. A change of direction. Remove the wide-angle lens and replace it with the macro. So goes island life. If you find yourself straining to see into the glare, maybe your timing isn’t right. To see clearly, you need to unfold, shift your gaze, and look a little more closely.

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The above photos were taken within one 12-hour-period at SeaTac, with an iPhone. I do have to say that if I had to choose an airport to be stranded in, SeaTac would be near, if not at the top, of my list. Good food, free wireless, a wine bar, a massage bar, plenty of electrical outlets, a nail salon, a formal ‘quiet space’, lending library, interesting architecture, nice interior design, and small art exhibition.


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