Friday, December 14, 2007


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Ahhh, birches! Estonia, right? No, I’m back in Madison (you can tell by the snow). Where the natural world is as close as the next block or so.

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People say to me that I travel with a hefty load of good luck. My flights rarely get cancelled, I sit in good places on the plane, my suitcases arrive in a timely way. My response? Oh, I am not always so lucky. Describing the misadventures would be a blog in itself. But that’s a “so what” topic. Everyone has their share of bad experiences. What new things can be said about them?

With the exception of French trains (which I do love) I neither love nor hate the getting there. I much prefer the destination. Travel, to me, requires a lot of waiting and I’ve grown used to it. There is not much you can do but accept it.

Sometimes, I have a confluence of irksome details – I had it on the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit last night: the person next to me was sick and used much of my space to make herself comfortable. The child across the aisle threw up before they closed the cabin door and, as a result, the attendants dragged her and the protesting mother off the plane, denying passage (a doctor’s okay would have to be procured before she would be allowed to board a later flight). A child of another family right in front of me screamed (not cried, screamed) nonstop for two hours, until the attendant told her and the mom and grandma to please make an effort to shut her up. To which the two adults responded – we can’t help it, the video is not working, she’s bored. Ah.

I think I mind all the raucousness less than some. Of course, I would have minded very much if my copassanger threw up on me or if I caught her incurable disease, but otherwise, it all just set me thinking – about poor babies being held accountable for their unsettled tummies and lucky adults who can hide their imperfections better, about mothers’ responsibilities to their children, about crowded planes and broken audio equipment and days where you felt lucky to get a bag of peanuts to keep you entertained on a long flight. It wasn’t always as luxurious up there in the skies as people would like to tell you now.

True, at the end of the nine hour flight, I reached the point where I was enduring rather than not minding it all, but still, it was a small price to pay for a safe arrival and a return home from a wonderful trip.

And really, I would not mind getting on a plane tomorrow for an equally tedious journey if it would put me in a place that’s new and interesting, with endless hours of walking, photographing, capped by warm food and a nice place to rest.

On the other hand, it really is nice to be now in Madison, at a season when it’s splendid to be home with people you love.

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