Winter Changes

Monday Morning Musings:

“No Notice gave She, but a Change—

No Message, but a Sigh—

For Whom, the Time did not suffice

That She should specify.”

–Emily Dickinson, from “No Notice gave She, but a Change”


“The things that never can come back are several—“

–Emily Dickinson*


“But now they only block the sun

They rain and snow on everyone. . .”

–Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides Now”


We see movies about women who experience life changes

change that ranges

through ages, horrors, and time

one mother with a daughter murdered and raped

shaping the rest of her life

(ignoring her son)

she puts up billboards and rages,

feels guilt and regret in stages

for what was said and done, she can’t forget

and yet,

there are people who care

and I like that we’re made aware

that most people are not simply bad or good,

but a mixture, often misunderstood,

complex and confused

the movie is anger-charged, yet funny, too

showing how people might change–

or perhaps we see them differently—

that could be,

they might exchange their views

(or sometimes not)

though they may sigh

and may not specify,

what it is they desire or want

though the things that never can come back are several.


The other movie is about a daughter who is coming of age

she and her mother who love each other

but argue persistently and consistently

as the daughter experiences first love and heartbreak

(Remember that age when so much seems at stake?)

in family life and strategies

we see life’s comedies and tragedies

as the young woman tries to break free

while realizing there is so much she didn’t see

or comprehend–

the value of a friend–

and a home that she will see anew, perhaps long for

someday, again.


(Bonus here, the high school theater scenes

where so much goes on in-between–

from auditions to production

and a director’s hilarious instruction.)


Changes come, with a feeling of sadness imbued

such as when the old garage was torn down,

and replaced now with the new

carried by truck through town


Through the window, I see the shed delivered.

set up quickly by the men,

and here it stands

still to be painted

for now, we’ll just get acquainted

as the weather alters to winter cold

the clouds move in to block the sun

and snow falls then on everyone

FullSizeRender 283

and gone for now is land and sky

as winter-white flutters and flies

FullSizeRender 282

Watching the snow

I catch a flake upon my hand

and wake to a winter wonderland

FullSizeRender 280

But now I prep for a colonoscopy

(SO many places I’d rather be

than here doing this)



though right now, I’m so literally not full of shit

unlike our leaders, who sleep, leap, and wallow in it

every day, trapping us deeper in the mud and crap

our nerves so frayed and ready to snap

changes from when people felt hope and optimism

now the monsters who before were hidden

roam openly, and they will not be forgiven

by history or time–

if we survive–

still as long as the dawn still rises

and cracks get filled with light

and there is poetry, movies, books to bring delight,

we won’t give up the fight

or take flight

or be numbed to evil that lurks

but find what works

to make the darkness go.

As Christmas lights shine brightly on the snow

and we light candles and decorate

hope the season of peace and love will penetrate

overtake the hate and fear

that seems to have swallowed the year

if only the scents of cinnamon and nutmeg–winter spices–

could bring forth niceness.

For now, winter snow blankets my world in white

and I, warm inside, can savor the sight–

noticing how it absorbs and reflects the light,

I stare,

wonder if it changes the air,

if hope can rise above despair.

FullSizeRender 281


We saw Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, trailer here.

And Lady Bird, trailer here.

Both were excellent movies, though I think my husband and I preferred Lady Bird. Frances McDormand (the part was written for her), Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf were all wonderful, as were the rest of both casts. Fun fact: Lucas Hedges, the young man in last year’s Manchester By the Sea, is in both movies.


*Emily Dickinson wrote this poem on the back of a recipe for coconut cake. This short article is about her and baking, and I plan to try some of her recipes soon.









36 thoughts on “Winter Changes

  1. These lines gave me pause, Merril: “(Remember that age when so much seems at stake?) in family life and strategies we see life’s comedies and tragedies . . .”

    A colonoscopy? Love the photo of the tell-tale box perched on top of the toilet. More than five years ago I painted the inside of my china closet blue as I waited for the meds to take effect. You’ll do fine!

    • Thank you for your close reading, Marian. Yes, I was thinking of both my teenage years and my daughters’.

      You were ambitious during your prep. I worked most of yesterday, but once I started drinking the disgusting stuff, I parked myself upstairs (and again this morning). I watched a whole season of Grey’s Anatomy–pausing as needed. 😉 Everything is fine though.

  2. May the scents of cinnamon and nutmeg–winter spices– bring forth niceness Merril, Lord knows we need it here there and everywhere. A lovely piece thank you. May the purging begin – and for you may it go OK at least …

  3. Much to ponder in those words. Most importantly, good luck with the colonoscopy. Plus, I hope the doctor doesn’t call to cancel after you started taking the stuff. (Yep, that happened to a friend).

    You definitely got more snow than we did, but this cold stuff is not for me anymore.

    • Thank you, Frank. I’m home and everything went fine.
      It’s so funny you said that about the cancelling. I was in the midst of doing the second dose this morning when the doctor’s office called to say my doctor had an emergency and couldn’t perform the surgery–but fortunately another doctor took over!

      I’m not a fan of the cold either. One snowfall that doesn’t inconvenience is fine (our roads are dry) and pretty, but then I’m ready for spring. 🙂

  4. My week is not complete without a poem and reflection from Merril’s contemplation, whether movie review or political trumpet on good and evil and still, always still, believing more in hope and love than the horrid world “stuff” that belongs in the crapper. Forgive me, Merril, this just came forth from my fingers as I smiled during your post. You are so RIGHT ON about everything, in my mind. I’m glad you made it through the colonoscopy alright. I have tried several times andalways end up in the hospital from reactions, so I will hope for the best – without the test. :-0

    • Awww–thank you for your kind and lovely words, Pam!
      The prep for the test is awful. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get down all of that disgusting drink, and it did make me feel sick. But ending up the hospital? Yikes! I don’t blame you for not trying again. I wouldn’t either.

  5. Good news this morning so maybe that means hope will rise above despair. I see in your comments that you survived the prep (ugh!!) and that all is well now. Yay! Your imagery, in both words and photos, is wonderful (even in the “crappy” spots…lol!).

    • Thank you for your kind words, Robin, on poetry, prep, and procedure. (It’s not often those words can go together.) 🙂 Yes, a bit of good news indeed. It still upsets me though that it was even as close as it was.

  6. I really wanted to see, “Lady Bird.” I’m glad you recommend it, Merril.
    My friend, Mark, at work saw the first one and felt it had angst and anger woven into it in even doses, worth seeing. . . I was surprised he went to see it!
    I have liked Frances MacDormand in several movies although I probably immediately think of her as a Wisconsin(?) (Midwestern) cop; pregnant and sassy in the rather macabre movie, “Fargo.”
    I hope all went well with your procedure. Take care and hope you have been enjoying the time with family. So special and times to be treasured. . . ❤

    • Thank you, Robin.
      Yes, Frances McDormand is wonderful, probably best well-known for “Fargo.” I think she won an Oscar for that role.
      Yes, all went well with the procedure. Thank you for asking. 🙂

      • You are a friend and am glad to have had some time spent with your writings. . . we didn’t make it to the movies yesterday. Busy catching up with my Delaware family on Sunday and Monday.

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