Flit, Fly, Flickr

As we swelter here in the Lou, our thoughts turn to travel, or escape, getting the heck out of Dodge. We have our travel plans, but for me, mine are still a ways off. My brother Chris has returned from Europe and has forwarded another photograph. My summer travel plans don’t even come close to approaching his, but then our mother’s travels dwarfs both of ours. I had a dream about her, actually two. The first one felt like a visitation, very spiritual. The second one was nonsense, gypsies had invaded our Ann Arbor home of thirty-five years ago and were there plying the multitude of their various trades, much to my chagrin.

My dad joined the Navy, but my mother got to see the world. I’ve said this before, but these pictures bear witness to this statement. The first one is a close-up of my mom, as she floats at dawn above the Serengeti. Dad took this picture. For the other two photographs, the photographer must remain anonymous, because on these two trips, mom traveled alone. The first shot shows her with her Tibetan guide. She rode the Iron Rooster across China on this trip. The third photo, I believe is in Russia or the Ukraine, I’m not sure. She had to curtail this trip, because she came down with a really bad respiratory infection. The doctors took X-rays, saw spots on the lung and diagnosed tuberculosis. Back home, the Air Force doctors dismissed those spots as scar tissue, at least until they heard about the Soviet era X-rays. Superpower rivalry and an activist woman doctor led to the correct, but dreaded diagnosis of lung cancer.

The surgeon’s intervention was swift and it cut deep, but it led to many more trips abroad and decades more of life. The trip to the Serengeti was one of these post diagnosis travels. She was a brave woman, fearless in the moment, fretful only afterwards. She hit every continent save Antarctica and over forty countries on the remaining six. I love that she wore red lipstick on safari. I love the way she holds her purse in the crook of her arm. She was my mother, her name is Jackie, and I love her dearly yet. Mourning is a process, it comes in fits & starts.

Chris sent along the following picture with this post, a nice wide-angle shot of a Polish government building. The photo was taken on his Eastern European vacation. He also sent along the following write up on this building. Finally, he sent along this link to an album of his travel photographs on his Flickr account. Check them out in all of their full screen beauty. Be sure to turn on captioning.

The Palace of Culture and Science (Polish: Pałac Kultury i Nauki, also abbreviated PKiN) in Warsaw is the tallest building in Poland, the eighth tallest building in the European Union. From 1955 to 1957 it was the tallest building in Europe. The building was originally known as the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki imienia Józefa Stalina), but in the wake of destalinization the dedication to Stalin was revoked; Stalin’s name was removed from the interior lobby and one of the building’s sculptures. It is now the 187th tallest building in the world. – Wiki

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