Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Impressive Bird

    Yesterday, at the Chicago Midway Airport on our way home, I saw another contrast between birds and man-made flight machines.  On April 8th, (click on this link to read it) I wrote about the contrast between the tiny sparrows inside the Denver airport and the lumbering jets outside the window.  In Chicago, again, there was a vivid illustration of our meager man-made attempt at imitating the beauty of flight.
     This bird hangs in a multi-story terminal where the escalators drop down or carry passengers up to the next point on their journeys.  Above the upper level, it hangs in mid-flight, a three dimensional pause in motion. The enormous, large paned window behind it makes it appear to have just flown in, arriving to perch on the railing and watch the bustle below. The bright light also made it hard to photograph.
       It is a mobile, suspended on cables from above, made up of hundreds of  three or four inch flight machines: bi-planes, helicopters, hot air balloons, jets, fighters, small planes, hang gliders and more I didn't take the time to notice.  A plaque on the upper level lists each type of flight machine, it's name, information about it, and a small sketch. An illustrated history of man-made flight machines.
     Down the escalators, it soars overhead, majestic and beautiful in its peaceful mid-flight pose, a calm contradiction to the hurry and motion below.  I could imagine a video camera of the scene put on fast forward, the streams of people coming and going, in and out, up and down, while the bird remained still and comfortable and simple, unaffected by the action.  We stopped in our path to admire it and try to catch it on camera, pausing in our hurry, grateful for the still moment, out of the traffic and unfamiliar area and parking structure and elevators and heavy luggage and lines of humanity, just to look and appreciate the artist's view of man's attempts at flight.
    From below, we also saw that the weights suspended below the bird formed a one-dimensional bird shape, wings spread, as if floating gracefully on an updraft of air - I didn't catch a good picture of that.  In the photo below, they are the dark spots below the bird. I can't say how big the bird is, in a large space like that perspective is out of proportion, but I'm guessing thirty feet across?  An impressive work of art.
     The bird's in-motion dignity held a striking difference to the tone of movement it soared peacefully above.


  1. Thank you for sharing. It looks amazing!

  2. Lovely description - - - great pictures.