Monday, March 23, 2009

"As Pretty As An Airport"

The Long, Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul
by Douglas Adams

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on the planet has ever developed the phrase "As Pretty As An Airport." Airports are not pretty. Airports are ugly. Some airports are very ugly, and some attain a degree of ugliness that can only result from a special effort.

I think that the Denver International Airport is an exception to this otherwise infallible rule. Well, from the outside, at least!

The design of the airport includes a circus tent-like white expanse of canvas peaked into spires which mimic the mountains behind. I had read somewhere that the number of peaks in the roof is supposed to represent the 14ers (mountains who reach to a height of at least 14,000 feet above sea level) in Colorado. Whether or not it is correct, you have to admit that the airport, it's white expanse of canvas shining in the morning sun, is a lovely site.

This weekend, the prediction was for a lovely, sunny weekend and comfortable temperatures, so I got out and drove in a random direction. I started by turning right every time I hit a red light and turning left at every dead-end "T" intersection. When I found myself on Tower road out by the airport shortly before sun rise, I decided to drive around the airport and take pictures of it.

I've spent enough time actually in the airport, that I felt it was only fair to consider it from the outside. One thing that the observer needs to appreciate is its scale. The building is massive. Add to that the fact that there is nothing around it and it looks even larger.

When I lived on the slopes of Green Mountain (located about thirty-five miles to the west-southwest) had a view of the airport. It could clearly be seen out on the eastern rim of the Denver Piedmont. Up close (how most people see it) it loses some of its perspective. It is only from the distance, across the field that you can appreciate its beauty.

The residents of this back country road have a spectacular view of the airport. 120th avenue is a dirt track with scattered farmsteads on the northern boundary of the airport property. Their front yard overlooks the terminal and the outlying concourses.

Continuing clockwise around the airport, I was presented with the best view of the airport… looking west from Imboden Road along the eastern boarder of the property you have a breathtaking view of the airport with the front range of the Rockies rising beyond the peaks of the roofline in the distance. It is too bad that this is a view of the airport that more people do not see. "Pretty as an airport" may enter the common vernacular of they did.

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll take a moment to look for the beauty in every day things around you today!

Don Bergquist – March 23, 2009 – Rural Adams County, Colorado, USA


Hyperspider said...

I like how you show Mount Evans (a 14ner) in the background. Nice

Don Bergquist said...


Yeah, it was difficult to decide where to take the picture. There is a little dirt-track farm road east of the airport property. I drove back-and-forth along that road a couple times before I settled on this area. I would have preferred to have the peaks of the airport roof a bit more separated, so you can see the two rows of them more clearly, the problem was that either way I got them to do that, the framing on Mt. Evans was just wrong…

If I may be so bold as to gratuitously compliment my own work; I am particularly happy with the way the mountain sort-of blends into the blue of the sky in the early morning light.