Monday Morning Musings:

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“Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?”

–David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

“Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies, an’ tho’ a cloud’s shape nor hue nor size don’t stay the same, it’s still a cloud an’ so is a soul.”

–David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

 

Nine people killed in a Charleston Church

on a June day last year,

forty-nine killed in an Orlando club

a week ago this June

innocent people going about life,

eat, pray, love

dance to the music

black, white, Latino, gay, trans, and straight

hearts that loved

no longer beat

no more inhaling and exhaling

sending breath into the air

in and out

inhale

exhale

 

We began as creatures of the sea

perhaps a sea sponge, 640 million years ago

or perhaps a comb-jelly drifting through the ocean,

we emerged from the sea

a cross between fish and reptile,

walking as if on crutches,

moving between sea and land

what compelled us,

creatures of earth

to leave the sea

to breath the air

inhale

exhale

 

And yet, the sea calls to us still

a longing for the rhythm of life,

rocking on the waves

that soothing lullaby of motion,

we tell tales of mermaids and selkies

creatures of both sea and land,

fantasy, or secret desire

to live between these worlds?

We’ve been sprinkled with stardust,

sparkles in our genes,

perhaps we have relatives on distant worlds

who swim in other oceans

whose breath sparkles as they

inhale

exhale

 

My husband and I spent the day on the beach

we walked, leaving footprints behind us

that filled with water and vanished

removing all signs that we had strolled that path

we splashed in the surf,

causing ripples in the water,

like those we create each day, existing

rippling time,

watching the seabirds soar above us

their wings wide and white,

I thought of angels,

like those shielding the mourners in Orlando,

like those who stood at the funeral of Matthew Shepard.

I watched those birds,

wondering about the fathers and mothers

protecting their young ones

do they listen for their breaths

as they

inhale

exhale?

 

We read our books

and watched the waves,

a beautiful day,

the sky bluer than the sea

almost cloudless as we arrived,

but then clouds grew

blooming like flowers,

floating like creatures in the sea

or like the frozen breath of giant beings

formed as they

inhale

exhale

 

Father’s Day,

neither of us with a father any longer,

but he a father, and I a mother,

our children began as cells, multiplying,

growing arms, legs, brains

swimming in an amniotic sea

listening to my heart beat

and my breathing

in and out

till they emerged,

tiny and perfect,

and breathed on their own

and walked upon the land

inhale

exhale

 

Do souls cross the ages

as clouds cross the sky?

do we wander through space

after we die?

do we visit oceans on distant worlds?

Do we breathe,

absorbing stardust and infinity

becoming luminous, as we

inhale

exhale?

 

As oceans are made up of drops

so each one of us is a drop in the universe

each drop is inconsequential,

each drop is unique and important,

the universe is composed of such paradoxes

and so we float and swim

and we drift, we walk on crutches

and we fight to survive

we breath

inhale

exhale

but when the sea calls to us

we return

carried by tide and time

to the sea that gave us life.

 

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Ocean City, NJ June 19, 2016

 

On Saturday night, “Father’s Day Eve,” I called it, I made pizza, and we watched the movie Cloud Atlas, based on the book by David Mitchell. Somehow we missed it when it was in the theaters. It’s not for those who like straight forward narrative, but we loved it. I would definitely watch it again. All of the main actors play multiple roles, changing gender and ethnicity. I haven’t read the novel, but I have read David Mitchel’s The Bone Clocks, which also told multiple interconnected stories over time.

Looking back, I discovered that my Father’s Day post last year discussed my father, his life, his death, and how he loved to take us out to eat. I also discussed the Charleston shootings. If you want to read it, you can find it here.

 

The idea of animals walking as if they used crutches, came from this article.

You can read more about the angels here.

 

 

 

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26 thoughts on “

  1. Seeing the souls interconnected through the times/eras of the movie made it interesting. I just added the book to my Kindle.
    (Humorous note: Amazon has a product alert. People have tried returning the book due to a perceived error – sudden change of story line mid-word on page 39 [Kindle end of section one].

  2. The ocean does lead the thoughts to meditation. Your thoughts wander, yet cohere and circle round again.
    I’ve not seen the movie, but I read the book, and really enjoyed it. He uses the non-straightforward narrative well. And appropriate for the sea! (K)

  3. I appreciated the repeated Inhale – Exhale lines of this poem. Anxious? Keep breathing. Exhausted? Keep breathing. Excited? Keep breathing. Surprising how often a reminder to “just keep breathing” applies.

  4. “Out of the cradle endlessly rocking.” I saw “Cloud Atlas.” What fascinated me about that movie was people playing different races, but not like Yul Brynner playing the King of Siam. In a way to purposefully play with race and identity. Not to usurp. It wasn’t always successful, but sometimes it was stunning.

    • I thought it was interesting that they played different races and genders. The Wachowskis who wrote and directed the movie were brothers, but now they are both sisters. One review of the movie did not like the actor who played a Korean man in the future segments, but it didn’t bother my husband or me because we thought he might be only part-Korean or some sort of hybrid person, since it was in the future.

      • That was the one I thought did not work and it annoyed me because of how it looked like Katherine Hepburn in Dragon Seed. They could have done a better job, I think. It’s hard though to take caucasian facial features, which are typically larger than Asian features, and have it work, whereas in the research they can use prosthetic noses, etc.

      • I did keep looking at his eyebrows that seemed to be stuck on–sort of like a Vulcan look–but I was enjoying the movie so much that it didn’t bother me too much.

  5. I believe we cannot define all the wonders that have been given us. Hopefully, they reveal themselves in such an amazing and stunning way as you presented here, Merril.
    Like an allegory, like a poem, describing this with some loving and sympathetic passages, as well as unexplainable transformations such as galaxies far away, the water on distant planets, life’s beginning while past souls are still traveling across the ages. . .
    I would like to see “Cloud Atlas,” (again) but I did rent it once on a very wearing weekend and had no one to poke me, once my eyelids got heavy. 🙂

      • I did like what I saw but I was tired when I put it into the DVD player. Thanks for reading my summary, Merril of your beautiful poetic expression.
        I am glad you included the part I called “loving and sympathetic passages”: the horror of 2015 in Charleston and again, a different kind of hate displayed in Orlando, both so sad and unnecessary. 😦

  6. I loved this part:

    “Do we breathe,

    absorbing stardust and infinity

    becoming luminous, as we

    inhale

    exhale?”

    I hope so, to all of it. It’s true, isn’t it, that many of us are still drawn back to the sea. Ocean City, NJ, by the way, is a much better place than Ocean City, MD. 🙂 I grew up in New Jersey so of course I would prefer the Jersey shore.

  7. Quite powerful, indeed. The various scenarios, the tragic and the not-tragic, woven together seamlessly, showing the commonality that exists in whatever falls along that spectrum.

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