A Photo Salute to Vacation Illumination

This week’s edition of the WordPress.com Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge spotlighted the theme of Illumination. Not just a recurring motif in various works of quality literature; not just the name of a thundering Rollins Band track; illumination is also an occasional guest star on our family’s past vacations. It peeks around or from within seemingly innocent objects, dares us to snap usable photos of it, and offers extra credit if we can write it a spiritually themed caption.

Behold my sextet of entrants from my own collection, submitted in the categorical competition of light and light accessories, narrowed down of my own volition to sightseeing experiences:

Before climbing the heights of the Statue of Liberty, visitors can enter the pedestal and see her retired parts, including a former torch that once lit the way for hopeful immigrants, but is now residing in a windowless room where it can reminisce about its glory years in peace.

Statue of Liberty, torch, Liberty Island, New York

Also retired from active duty: this erstwhile New Year’s Eve ball that once loomed high over Times Square and was probably on a first-name basis with Dick Clark. As of 2011 it was exhibited in the Times Square Visitors Center, where it performed every few minutes and blinded unsuspecting tourists.

Times Square ball, Manhattan

Also in Times Square is a mammoth Toys R Us, among whose unique features is a Willy Wonka Shop lit in garish faux-glow-in-the-dark tones per the dying wishes of its peculiar fictional founder.

Willy Wonka Shop, Toys R Us, Manhattan

Neon fans may also enjoy the entrance to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, longtime location of the entertainment festival known as Wizard World Chicago, previously featured here on MCC.

Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemon, Illinois

Manmade light has its perks, but natural light is my favorite. One of my favorite instances of surprise sunshine happened to me in Manhattan, upon exiting the 59th Street/Columbus Circle subway entrance in front of Trump Tower. I looked up and found myself emerging beneath this steel globe created by sculptor Kim Brandell. The sun bade us a pleasant welcome after our underground ride from the Upper West Side. Fortunately Mr. Trump wasn’t around to fire it without cause.

Columbus Circle, globe sculpture, Kim Brandell, Trump Tower, Manhattan

Meanwhile in the Midwest, an Iowa restaurant called the Machine Shed welcomed our extremely late arrival in Davenport with this shining beacon that pointed us in the direction of authentic farm-style home cooking.

Machine Shed, Davenport, Iowa

In conclusion: Illumination is your roadside friend, your nighttime tour guide, your meaningful symbol, and your beacon to brighten any dull, lifeless exhibit. Remember not to put all your trust in it, though — after all, you can’t spell “Illumination” without “Illuminati”. You’ve been warned.

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