Turkeys, Squirrels, and Magic in the Air

Monday Morning Musings:

“So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.”

From Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”

“The sky is already purple; the first few stars have appeared, suddenly, as if someone had thrown a handful of silver across the edge of the world.”

Alice Hoffman, Here on Earth

The leaves strive to stay,

pops of color dot the landscape

brightening the grey


but falling, flying, drifting so

as autumn grows colder,

they must go

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Red Bank Battlefield

as does the day

soon the shadows lengthen

silently sliding their way


along pavement and ground

above bare branches wave

without a sound.


Violet turns midnight blue

and a glimmering filigree of light

dots the sky, like morning dew.


Twilight—this magic time

when fairy tales sprout

in the mind—and so I rhyme


Once– if tale be told–

my arm up a turkey,

the day frigid cold


I shoo away a sniffing cat

look at the bird’s freakishly long neck–

wonder what kind of dinosaur was that?*


Survival and extinction

I continue the job

I won’t eat it but some


will, it’s the family holiday deal

a mixture of traditions and love

along with the holiday meal.


Our lovely sommelier

And so, we gather together

unmold the cranberry squirrel—to cheers–

bask in weirdness, warmth in the cold weather.

On this night of full beaver moon

we eat, drink, laugh, and talk

though ever present the tune

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of what will be and what was past,

we try to stay in the moment, mindful

that we cannot know what is cast


by the auger’s stones

our fate with the stars

unknown, until felt in our bones.


We eat leftovers for days–

and drink more wine

walk and sleep in holiday haze,


then we sleep and dream

of a million things

forgotten at dawn, the theme


who knows? I hear the birds sing

amidst November gloom–

a little winged thing


can achieve wonders, I think,

cat on a lap, a book, a cup of tea—

yes, back to food and drink.


In sunny weather, we go to see

a Swedish film, not comedy,

a fairy tale, of sorts, it seems to me


border can be taken in many ways

as can gender and eye of the beholder

much in the world and nature may amaze


a fable may hold truth—

no matter about who or what is told

shy or bold, cultured, or uncouth


Magic all around us

in glowing leaves and laughing speech

known and unknown worlds, ever thus–

And so, we talk

drink our coffee and catch our train,

then our shadows take a walk—

and soon we’re home again

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to sleep under the silvered sky,

to dream of wondrous, magic things,

to ask without answers all the whys,

to hear the stars sing and to them fly.


Thanksgiving 2018

*I read this article on Thanksgiving.


We celebrated Thanksgiving with family (missing older daughter and her wife) and friends. For those who are new, our cranberry squirrel is a beloved family tradition. The unmolding of it is part of the tradition, and this year my sister made a very funny recording of the event. We saw the Swedish movie, Border. Trailer here. As the trailer says, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It is definitely unusual, but my husband and I liked it. Coincidentally, I’m reading a book that is also a sort of fairy tale but that is set in the area of the world where my ancestors came from. Perhaps more about that in a future post.











47 thoughts on “Turkeys, Squirrels, and Magic in the Air

  1. Such a pleasant read from you Merril. You have a lovely family…the food looks so yummy. I must say that the neck is gigantic…did you make soup with it? Thanks for sharing your holidays in this elegant post.

  2. A wonderful time was had by all!
    You always see the most interesting movies and share with us Thank you – again. This does look out of the ordinary (and that has become the rarest of things, hasn’t it?)

  3. Ah, Merril, your poem was full of wonderment and heartiness! Beautiful family gathering and traditions. I especially loved your pic and words: … then our shadows take a walk and soon we’re home again.” 🤗

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was one of my favorite Coen brothers’ creations! Fun and full of mischief.

  4. So glad you had such a marvelous time (albeit missing two)! The cranberry squirrel would be something my son would love as he is a squirrel nut (pun accepted). Happy Thanksgiving a bit late!

  5. So good to see the cranberry squirrel and that the squirrel came out intact. It almost feels like part of my tradition now. Looks like a wonderful Thanksgiving, Merril. 🙂

    My husband made the cranberry sauce for our Thanksgiving dinner and did it according to our daughter-in-law’s recipe. When he had it ready to go into something, he asked if she had a mold and she looked at him quite puzzled. My mother had a cranberry mold (nothing as elaborate as your squirrel — it was shaped like a seashell). We have a glass one that we use and it comes out looking like a tall and fancy cake. I’m thinking my daughter-in-law, youngest son, and grandchildren need a cranberry mold to carry on the tradition of shaping cranberry sauce.

    • Thank you, Robin. We never use the squirrel except for at Thanksgiving. The seashell mold sounds cool. I might make some cranberry sauce this weekend to go with latkes–but I won’t strain it or put it in a mold. Maybe you’ll see a cool mold in an antique shop sometime.

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