Like Millions of other people around the globe my very first perceptions of Russia came from 2 sources.

The first was watching the nightly news as a kid where I would frequently see images of a Red Square Military Parade complete with legions of goose stepping human robots with AK-47’s in hand.

The other impression came from the very first time I saw Dr. Zhivago..

To say that I was both haunted and mesmerized would be an understatement.

Because this image.. this angel from heaven itself would replay over and over in my youthful mind.

Who WAS that Girl?

Laura..

Laura was her name..

An incredible muse who was mystically channeled into celluloid by a timeless Julie Christy.

While I watched Laura’s life unfold I just couldn’t believe that such a woman.. so beautiful, so tender, yet so incredibly strong and devoted could exist. I had NEVER seen an image of feminine perfection portrayed like this on TV and certainly not in real life. My American surroundings were simply devoid of any trace of such grace.

So therefore I KNEW that it was just a fantasy.. She DIDN’T exist.. It was sadly just a figment of my boyish desires.

Well the boy grew into a man and his memory of that wonderful sanctuary faded with time. There were new challenges to overcome.. new battles to be fought.. and new harder realities to face. But some where in the recesses of his mind there was the faintest flicker of a secret wish..

To someday travel the world and to see if maybe she does exist..

Some people say that sometimes you need to lose the world to find it.. And whether it was by divine intervention or by my own bravado and ignorance which lead me here I will probably never know.

But I do know this..

The Soul of Laura is everywhere in this land.

The paradox of her beauty and her struggle literally surrounds me now.

And with this.. there is much joy..

but still I am haunted..

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