Time Keeping

Wildflowers and Driftwood, the Delaware River at West Deptford, NJ. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Monday Morning Musings:

Across the morning sky, all the birds are leaving
How can they know that it’s time to go?
–Sandy Denny, “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”

Time is being and being
time, it is all one thing,
the shining, the seeing,
the dark abounding.
–from “Hymn to Time” by Ursula Le Guin

Summer sings on robin trill,
soars on broad-flapped egret’s wing
across the river’s wide expanse,
explodes on thunderclap,
and floats on driftwood
under a laden, leaded sky.

Egret flying above Delaware River

The clocks tick tock, go and stop,
but time ripples, bends, and plops,
to circle through stars and seasons.

Where’s the early promise gone, and why?
The river doesn’t answer, merely flows
with time

in rabbit hops and turkey trots, in smooth deer grace
or hawk’s lazy circling trace across the clouded sky–

the slow descent of morning moon, her song
a sigh, carried high by crow, who never shy,
announces to the world that summer is almost done–
but not quite

Crow and Morning Moon ©️Merril D. Smith 2021

Crow in a Sycamore Tree, ©️Merril D. Smith 2021

whispers the butterfly. I flutter and create a storm,
it circles round, and flowers born—

Hope and Determination. Wildflower among the rocks. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

so, life goes on through seasons fast or plodding,
you remember both tears and laughter—
the sorrow of loss, the joy of what comes after—
memories flavored by love and friendship—savored–
reflections from the past.

Stream of Reflections ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021


This and That:
We’ve had a particularly muggy summer—high dewpoints and humidity (as I write, the dewpoint is 73 and the humidity is 93%). Our air conditioner has been running nearly continuously for the past month. We have another chance of thunderstorms this afternoon. However, we are not facing a hurricane. My thoughts are with friends in New Orleans.

On Tuesday, we went to Valley Green Inn by the Wissahickon Creek. It was my mom’s birthday, and we used to take her mom there for her birthday, until she couldn’t manage it. It was a very hot day, but quite pleasant eating on the porch shaded by the woods. Then we took a walk on Forbidden Drive. On our drive to Valley Green we listened to an interview on the radio with a man who held the marvelous job title of Curator of Timekeeping. He’s written a history of clocks.

Yesterday, we went to a wine festival (Wine Down the Summer at Riverwinds). We’ve attended it in previous years, though it was not held last summer because of the pandemic. We did not do any tastings, as we were not certain about weather or crowds and didn’t want to purchase expensive tickets we wouldn’t use, but we bought wine, brought food, and so, we spent the afternoon with dear friends eating (a lot), sipping wine, talking, and listening to the band. It was a lovely afternoon.

Some of my friends might enjoy Jennifer Ryan’s The Kitchen Front, a novel about a cooking competition sponsored by a BBC radio program during WWII. Like her other books, which I also enjoyed, it’s a sort of cozy historical novel. I really liked it—feel-good, but not sappy.

“A charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit. . . . . This story had me so hooked, I literally couldn’t put it down to cook.”—NPR

Most of you know we watch and enjoy some pretty quirky shows and movies with subtitles, if you do, too, you might enjoy Post Mortem, a new Norwegian dramedy on Netflix. It was fun–only 6 episodes, but hopefully a second season is in the works.


And the new Netflix show The Chair with Sandra Oh is also lot of fun—we watched it in two nights.
You can tell I have eclectic tastes: we’re still watching Dexter, and I’m also re-watching Downton Abbey on Netflix (Mary and Matthew engaged again, swoon).

47 thoughts on “Time Keeping

  1. Thank you, Merril. Monday Morning Musings always offer juicy bits: photos from nature, including the Delaware; food and wine, book and movie suggestions. Oh, so little TIME though I’ve made an exception for Downton Abbey too!

  2. I love all the nature photos, but Wildflower among the Rocks is my favorite. These are the musings that most resonate with me today:

    The clocks tick tock, go and stop,
    but time ripples, bends, and plops,
    to circle through stars and seasons.

    Where’s the early promise gone, and why?
    The river doesn’t answer, merely flows
    with time

  3. “The clocks tick tock, go and stop,
    but time ripples, bends, and plops,
    to circle through stars and seasons.” Time does feel like this, very bendy as we say in yoga class of anyone who has loose joints. Such a lovely poem, capturing so well the sense of summer going but not just yet. I love your photos, too, and how they weave through your poem.

    You do watch an eclectic mix of movies and shows. That’s why we love to hear your recommendations 🙂 Greg and I have been watching The Good Place on Netflix. I love comedy shows that do not have laugh tracks, and so much of the humor in The Good Place is quick and dry and a pleasant antidote to our daily grim news.

  4. It’s interesting you should write about time in this way, Merril: after your comment on my poem from yesterday, I started wondering if there is some physical reason why children experience time differently to adults…it’s a fascinating subject, whatever angle you take! I love the sound of ‘Forbidden Drive’ – I wouldn’t be able to resist that walk…

    • Thank you, Ingrid. I wrote mine, and then I read yours, and I thought it was funny we both wrote about time (in different ways). Part of the difference has to do with lifespan. One summer makes up a larger percentage of a child’s life than it does for someone who has lived decades.
      Forbidden Drive is a great name, but I believe it’s just because cars are forbidden. It is very pretty though–and sometimes we see people riding on horseback there, too. And there are also hiking paths.

  5. A beautiful celebration of life, Merrill! Lovely to read your musings on nature, love the photos and great to see a couple of you enjoying life out and about! Thank you for the pointer to Post Mortem and The Chair – my husband and I will love both of these I’m sure! Wishing you a great week ahead and hope it becomes less muggy for you. Here some warmth and sunshine wouldn’t come amiss! 😀

    • Thank you very much, Annika! We’re supposed to have rain, but then lovely weather at the end of the week. I hope you get some sunshine and warmth. Enjoy the shows, if you watch them. 😀

  6. Curator of Timekeeping is such a wonderful title!
    Another beautiful and fascinating post, Merril. Beautiful images and words, and always some interesting recommendations for shows, movies, and books. 🙂

  7. I always enjoy your Monday Musings (even if I’m a day late!)
    Quirky is always good, as far as I am concerned: Walking Dead, Modern Love, and anything in between!

  8. I heard the geese honking farewell – already? And September 2 and the hummers, who buzzed at our feeder desperately two days ago, are unseen. Sigh. Ursula Le Guin and her time poem …. .Yessss. Also made me think of Simon and Garfunkel “Time it was And what a time it was,”

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