Looking at Yesterday, Seeing Tomorrow

Monday Morning Musings:

“Sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laiden with happiness and tears.”

–from Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, “Sunrise, Sunset,” Fiddler on the Roof (1964)

After thousands of sunrises and sunsets

the years fly quickly,

faster now, summer turns to autumn,

spring tears fall and shoots appear–

winter snow glitters on our heads.

 

Once I was a turtle,

slowly walking across a road

I hid my head from others

though I showed off my lovely carapace,

then you took me from my shell

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and brought me into the world of people.

I showed you the world of books and art,

introduced you to exotic turtle food

and we played and burrowed deep,

into our blanket nest.

 

Our children were fawns

long-legged, shy, and fey,

until their camouflaging spots faded,

and then they sang the songs of birds

and gathered the wisdom of owls

 

tossing words, pitching music, and beaming light

into the world–

sometimes it was reflected back

in all the colors of the universe,

bringing love.

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And now?

The water calls to me in rivers, streams, and oceans,

I sometimes carry the heavy weight of my shell,

but you share the burden,

and when I look at my reflection,

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I see worlds beyond worlds–

the absurdity of the upside-down,

the glowing rays of a double sun

the promise of all the ifs,

and the hope in infinite possibilities stretching to forever.

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I do not look to yesterday but walk into the future.

 

We celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary a few days ago, but we’ve known each other since ninth grade. To celebrate, we went to Ocean City, NJ and walked on the beach for a couple of hours in the morning, avoiding people as best we could. Then later we went on our first real outing since March. We went to a winery for our anniversary dinner, where we sat outside physically distanced from the other patrons, and after a brief thunderstorm, we enjoyed wine, pizza, and gelato. I think we were both a bit giddy to be out. I put my mask back on whenever our masked server came to the table.

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Merril’s Movie Club: Back to more obscure Merril films. Both are on Netflix. We watched See You Yesterday, which we both really liked. All of the acting is excellent, especially the two engaging leads who portray brilliant Black teens hoping to get scholarships to good universities—a future. But this is very much a Black Lives Matter film, and they attempt to change the past. Playing on the theme, Michael J. Fox has a cameo appearance.

We also watched Bulbul, an Indian horror film—though it’s not a jump out of your seat horror. It’s more of a dark fable with beautiful cinematography.  It deals with a child bride and her life as an adult in her husband’s household, where her best friend is her brother-in-law. There is a tale of a demon/goddess who lives in the trees and swoops down to attack men at night. The story is retold throughout the movie. We both liked it, though I think I liked it more than my husband did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Tumbles

Monday Morning Musings:

 

When I was young I played on the beach with my sister

we built sand castles and moats

and body-surfed the waves

peaches and plums dripped with sticky sweetness under the summer sun

for years, I imagined their taste mixed with bits of sandy grit–

memories held in mind’s drawers, sliding in and out,

tumbling in time

 

My love and I walk the beach hand and hand

summer-warm skin, golden-toasted

bodies young, futures imagined

(but not)

lazy days and languid nights

hot kisses dancing across flesh

burning, tumbling in time

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We walk the beach holding a daughter’s hand,

we walk the beach holding two daughters’ hands,

watch them build sand castles and body surf in the waves

we get hugs and kisses

ice cream melts down faces and onto summer dresses

laughter and tears when storms come

and time tumbles

 

We walk the boardwalk with grown children

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nieces and nephews run ahead and behind

and on top of railings

(Get down from there, Sammy!)

talk of family and this and that

warm summer days

warm memories

ice cream that melts and drips down our fingers

 

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(lick it off)

the sun sets

and the ferris wheel spins,

the moon smiles down on us

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I hear the ocean sing

waves tumbling

like time

 

I hold my love’s hand as we walk across the sand

the tide pulls, ebbs and flows

time tumbles again and again

 

 

Yesterday was our 39th anniversary. We went to the beach for a few hours and then out to dinner. A wonderful day!

 

Wake and Embrace, Happy Anniversary

Wake and embrace—

linger for a universe of morning

perfumed with coffee and color.

Picture this,

(my window, see?)

breathe the peace surrounding you and me,

flowering cool green

on velvet words almost to eternity

 

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Morning Sky after the Storm, West Deptford, NJ

 

Today is our 39th wedding anniversary! I’m glad the Oracle came through with something nice, even if she sometimes messes up the spelling.

Yesterday morning we had thunderstorms with tornado warnings, but then the sun came out. Sometimes nature gives you a metaphor. Some of you know I’m past deadline on a manuscript for an encyclopedia, and that I’m now researching and writing a second chapter because a contributor did not come through with something I could use. It’s been quite a storm, but I’m embracing blue skies and velvet words today.  🙂

History of the Heart

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deCordova Sculpture Park

Monday Morning Musings:

 

We listen to our hearts, traveling north

we listen to NPR, switching stations as they fade in an out.

I wonder about all who’ve journeyed up and down this coast,

on rough paths, on old turnpike roads, in birch crafts on the rivers,

and on the sea–

sailing into the bustling seaports of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

They were looking for America

from across the ocean, from across rivers and bays,

they arrived in a land of wonders, one not unpopulated,

the people already there displaced, their way of life disrupted, changed forever

 

Long ago, my husband and I made this journey, headed to Mystic.

we were about the age of our older daughter now,

our hearts were young, filled with passion and uncertainty

in equal measures,

the way it is then

before life tempers, and provides nuances,

But joy comes in seeing the world in different ways

as we journey through life

down roads uncharted

then, now, the future

all merge on this highway

heading north.

 

We stay at a lovely inn in Old Mystic

with each room named for a New England author,

the perfect place for a writer,

don’t you think?

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Mark Twain Room, Old Mystic Inn

We’re in the Mark Twain room,

decorated with both flair and whimsy–

a mysterious note appears on the bathroom mirror

in the steam, and we laugh.

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“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.” Mark Twain (The message appears on the glass when the room steams up.)

It’s the day before our wedding anniversary,

our hearts have traveled.

miles and time together

beating close together

and far apart.

 

We eat the delicious breakfast

(strawberry stuffed French Toast

and herbed scrambled eggs, corn cakes with fruit

the second morning)

and head off for the seaport.

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We climb aboard a whaling ship,

the whalers long gone, but the ship restored.

Men sailed away, often for years,

women waited,

life echoing the sea, back and forth, like the tides

towns and cities grew from

and became dependent on this life,

money to be made from whale oil,

and maritime business

coopers, chandlers, rope makers,

but broken-hearts for those who never returned.

Hearts have chambers,

rooms, like a house or inn,

blood travels through them,

leaving traces behind

as a person’s scent remains in a room.

Hearts hold our love encased within them.

Whales hearts, so much larger than ours,

do they hold more love?

Did their families cry and mourn for them, too,

when they did not return?

A history of hearts, human and whale, entwined

 

We eat dinner at a restaurant on the river,

we look down upon the sailing boats,

leaving a V trail behind them in the water,

the setting sun casts a glow upon the water,

we discover my husband’s knife is magnetized,

we laugh as he uses it to pull a fork around the table,

such entertainment,

and the food is great, too.

 

Off to Boston and another inn,

our bed has a four poster bed with steps to get up onto it.

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The Bertram Inn, Brookline, MA

Thankfully.

Our older daughter walks with us to

the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum,

and how amazing she must have been

to collect such works during the Gilded Age

(and the fortunes and friendships to make it possible)

to create a Venetian palace and garden

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Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum, Boston

I look at the paintings.

I love that my daughter also walks slowly

reading each sign, examining the lines and details

I watch the people, too,

the young Asian woman in the dirndl style dress,

the skirt a pattern of giant books, a ribbon in her hair–

What is her story?

does the dress reflect her heart, an open book?

 

The next day with our daughter and her wife

we spend hours wandering through the deCordova sculpture park.

It’s a beautiful day,

my heart sings with the joy of being alive,

walking with my husband, my daughter, and her wife

looking at sculptures, smelling the flowers

(Where is that cinnamon scent coming from?

We never do find out.)

It’s a lovely day to walk among the works of art,

outside and inside.

We rest after that

then have pizza, walk through a bookstore, and eat ice cream for dessert,

because it’s summertime,

food for the body, and food for the soul.

 

We leave the inn, the next morning,

we leave the sea and its tides,

beating with life’s rhythms,

we follow and cross rivers

the Charles, the Connecticut,

the Hudson, the Delaware,

the earth’s arteries,

lead us home,

where a grey cat and a white cat

are waiting for us.

 

We stayed at the Old Mystic Inn.  Our room was in the carriage house—the rooms have separate entranced and a porch with chairs and tables. There is also a gazebo. This is probably the best inn I’ve ever stayed in. Lovely room and setting (outside of the commercial area), and delicious breakfasts created by innkeeper and chef Michael S. Cardillo, Jr.  There was a fireplace in the room, too, which would be beautiful in cooler weather. We ate our anniversary eve dinner at S & P Oyster Company. It was expensive, but the food was excellent, not an overpriced tourist spot. Call for “priority seating.”

We stayed at the Bertram Inn, in Brookline, outside of Boston, near where our older daughter lives.   It was also wonderful with nice touches, such as turn down service with chocolates each night. I was surprised to find that it was once the home of a family—and their servants. Lovely rooms, friendly staff, and delicious buffet breakfasts (with cold foods available for early risers, like us.) We ate our breakfast on an outside porch beneath a trellis

In the Boston area, we visited

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

And the deCordova Sculpture Garden