Monday, May 10, 2010

Sleepless not in Seattle

I spent the night at the airport recently (about 14 hours' worth of the night) with all the guys and gals from my unit. They were hoping to get on a plane to get home to the United States, but because of the volcano in Iceland, everyone wound up coming back here to Post.

Battalion Staff keeping watch at 0200.

At one point in the middle of the night (0300) we were told they'd be boarding in about ten minutes.  There was a crush of Soldiers by the exit door, as people expected momentarily to begin their long-awaited journey home.  Perhaps twenty minutes later we were told to stand down, that because of the volcanic ash a new flight plan needed to be filed.  They'd be able to board in about 30 minutes.

Eager but exhausted Soldiers waiting to board the plane at 0300.

Several hours later, we were all still crammed into the waiting area.

This was especially frustrating given that they'd already been delayed a couple of days for one reason and another. Without anything constructive to do on Post, those days seemed to drag on and on for many of them.

Knowing that all their luggage was on the plane already made it even more frustrating for those who were already impatient to get home to loved ones and friends.

I didn't get much sleep, but had occasion to have some really good chats with Soldiers.  There were even some wildflowers growing beyond the fenced-in area just outside the exit door.  Fortunately they let us out there  (finally) while we were waiting, so at least we could get some fresh air.

As I've written before, I love finding unexpected and undeserved beauty in the most unlikely of places.

When it was finally decided that everyone would have to return to Post, we stood around outside in a sort-of formation as we waited (seemingly forever) for the buses and their MP (military police) escorts.  Someone had brought along a football, which provided a welcome diversion during the wait.  It's not as though it was a Mickey Mouse operation, or anything....

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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