I'm not going to beat around the bush here. I'll just say it like it is. All the hype around Mother's Day is ridiculous. For a holiday that's supposed to celebrate the precious relationship between a mother and her child, there sure is a lot to distract me from that relationship. I mean, give me a break. My mother does not need any more bath stuff. If she's at all like me, she's gotten enough lotion over the years to soothe her skin into the 23rd century! And she doesn't want any chocolate. In fact, it's my dad who likes that, way more than she does. Let's face it. If you have a strong enough relationship with your mother to want to buy her a gift for Mother's Day, most of the gifts out there scream GENERIC!!! Over the years, I've come up with some ways to give to my mom that avoid all the hype and the sappy generic-ness of the holiday as its often celebrated. As a bonus, if you think about it now, you'll be ready for the day when it comes!！ Spend time with your mom I know, it's a shocker. But the truth is that most moms I know want to hear from their kids more than they do. You can even do this if you live far away from your mom. Give her a call and let her know you want to talk for a while, or set up a phone date ahead of time so you'll both be free to focus on each other. Then ask her about herself, how her days are going and what she's feeling. Focus on hearing her heart. After all, this is the woman who birthed you...maybe knowing her will help you know yourself better, and that's never a bad thing. Write down your memories of her Many moms love to know what their kids remember from childhood and how they perceived the things that happened then. Make a list of these for your mom, focusing on ones that highlight positive changes in your relationship with her. Make the list pretty, and give it to her. Or, tear each memory off in a strip, fold it up and put it in a jar. Give her the sealed jar for Mother's Day, and she can pull out a memory every day until they're gone. If you run short on memories, do the same with lessons you've learned from her. Take photos with her Was your mom one of those people who has every family event for the last 30 years documented in extensive photographic detail? Then spend some time getting pictures taken with her. Take her to a favorite park or garden, or do it in your own backyard. While you can hire a professional photographer, all you really need is a digital camera and someone who knows how to operate it. Your poses can be silly or serene, but no matter how they turn out, taking them will make your mom's day. Clean her house I know a few people who like to clean, but even they can find it overwhelming when life gets busy. So pick up a bucket and a mop and show mom that you really do remember all her lessons on scrubbing the house. You don't have to clean everything and you don't even have to to the best job ever. As long as you're willing to get your hands dirty, she'll be happy, and relieved that she didn't have to do it herself! Remember her Instead of focusing your love on your mom only at Mother's Day, come up with a comprehensive plan to love her year-round. This doesn't have to be hard. Maybe it means you call her every-other Sunday instead of whenever-you-feel-like-it-which-sometimes-means-a-month-goes-by-without-talking. Put her in your calendar, or ask an assistant to put it in theirs and remind you when the time comes. Your mom might not notice the difference on Mother's Day, but she'll appreciate the thought throughout the year. Here's hoping that one of these ideas will work for you, or will spark a desire in you to do something that will show your mom how much you value that relationship.
Dietmar Eckell has traveled the world in pursuit of ruin. His portfolio is filled with mystifyingly beautiful pictures of abandoned buildings, forgotten military sites and decomposing cars. For his newest project, he tracked down 15 rotting airplane carcasses left over from crash sites where there were no fatalities and everyone was rescued. “We hear enough about air disasters in the news so I didn't feel the need to dramatize that in my photography,” he says. “Instead I wanted to give the viewer a positive 'wow' effect.” For nearly three years, he trekked to extremely isolated locations across the world — nine countries on four continents — to find the photos and now he's running an Indiegogo campaign to fund a self-published book. “I shoot all kinds of abandoned relics with amazing stories, but the planes are special,” he says. “Visually it's just surreal when you see an airplane after the long journey to get out [to these remote spots].” In Papua New Guinea he says the quest to find a downed plane was like a trip through history. He was after a piece of modernity, but to get there he had to cross through communities that still clung to centuries-old traditions and had no electricity or running water. While chasing another wreck in North Africa he had to negotiate with a local rebel group in order to get transported across the border from Mauritania into Western Sahara. “That was a different kind of thrill,” he says. Most of the airplanes have sat in the same spot for decades, so over time they've become part of the landscape. In the forests, trees grow through broken windows. In the desert, piles of sand conform to the shape of the fuselage. In the mountains, their gray metal innards start to resemble the rocks around them. To find the wrecks, Eckell pored over internet forums, dug through archives and searched Google Earth. Once he had a general region, he also began surveying local pilots to see if they had details on a specific location. He couldn't get to the most remote crashes in places like Antarctica and Greenland because it was too expensive, but he hasn't given up. He's trying to raise more money and plans to eventually track them down. “One day I'll get there,” he says. All Photos: Dietmar Eckell