Context is everything

I spend a lot of time waiting in airports. One of my favourite things to do is to watch the planes taxi about. Big, sleek jetliners, on squat wheels, waggling around like plump little ducks.

They are so helpless, they can’t even reverse by themselves. Tiny trucks have to push them back and turn them so they can crawl to the runway.

Every time they hit a tiny bump on the apron, their wings — from which those giant engines hang — bounce with infantile exaggeration.

But. Within minutes, a transition happens. They tear down the runway. The rushing wind straightens their wobbly wings and flexes them up. In that moment they climb into the thin air. And, as they push higher, they accelerate faster.

In less than half an hour, those plump ducks cut the sky at close to the speed of sound.

Context is everything.