Outside and Inside

Monday Morning Musings:

“but wait, Uncle Vanya, wait! We shall rest. We shall rest. We shall rest.”
–Anton Chekov, Uncle Vanya

Early Morning Delaware River at West Deptford, NJ
Whitall House at Red Bank Battlefield, Early Spring

Outside, it’s wind-swept,
then calm, heron-grey till blue
returns, and sunshine wakes the
laughing daffodils to
play. Outside all is contrary—

we know the ending, but how
will the middle go? Bombs
drop, ice-shelves crash, pandemic
freefall– isolated
branches forget their roots, yet grow.

Inside, we drive with
Uncle Vanya—hear her voice,
then his, rehearsals for life
through Hiroshima streets,
the play’s the thing– but connections

through time and people
signing with love, humor, and
song. It is language, all the
languages—words, faces,
hands. The beauty of them all—
the text, feelings, love, and sadness

buds and blooms again.
Outside birds soar and find mates,
we hear dawn choirs begin
amidst the carnage and
despair, yellow waves across blue


Early morning reflections, Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

again and again.
Inside and outside remind
us that life goes on—a dance
through time, variations
on a theme, singing with rhythm–

Vulture Aerial Ballet

signs of creation.
We are the product of stars
replicating their wonder
and extinguishing light
with big bangs—love, joy, sorrow, death

–and then we rest.

I watched this goose running and chasing after other geese. Crazy with love perhaps.

This is a wayra chain–5-7-7-6-8 syllables per stanza. March continues its craziness. The warm weather brought lots of blooming, but now it’s cold again. My husband saw snow flurries yesterday, and we might get more today. Later in the week it’s supposed to get unseasonably warm with thunderstorms. . .and still there’s war in Ukraine, Covid, and a huge ice shelf broke off in the Antarctic. Still, the birds sing and flowers grow.

Merril’s Movie Club:
We caught up with some of the movies up for Academy Awards last night. I didn’t watch the awards ceremony. We’ve seen 7 of the 10 that were nominated for best picture, plus 3 of the International Feature Films, including the winner, Drive My Car. (We may watch The Worst Person in the World next weekend.) And we’ve also seen The Lost Daughter, Parallel Mothers, and Flee–all excellent.
This week we watched:
Drive My Car, Coda, and West Side Story.

Drive My Car was my favorite. I was hooked from the beginning, and I just keep thinking about it. Like Coda, it also features signing—Korean Sign Language—as one of the actors in a multi-language production of Uncle Vanya communicates through it. The movie has so many levels—and languages. It’s about connections and language, love, and loss. Much of it takes place as an actor-director drives or is driven in his beloved red Saab listening to his wife’s voice reading Uncle Vanya with pauses for him to say his lines. The movie is three hours, which along with subtitles, will probably keep many people from seeing it. As for me, I want to see it again. Trailer here

Coda was very good—loud out loud funny in parts, sweet, sad, and poignant, even if it was a bit predictable. It’s a definite crowd-pleaser. Troy Kotsur, who plays the deaf father of a young woman who can hear and wants to follow her dream to sing, won a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor award. Coda won Best Picture. Trailer here

West Side Story—was very enjoyable, and I liked it a lot. My sister and I used to listen to the album (an actual record on a turntable), and throughout the years I’ve seen the movie many times, as well as stage productions (including the worst ever production when I was in college), so I know all the songs. I don’t know that all the changes were necessary, but I suppose if you’re going to remake a classic, then you should make it your own, as Spielberg has done. Tony Kushner updated the book, and the cinematography and the literal dancing in the streets brought a better sense of New York City and the changes it was undergoing in the 1950s. I liked that there was a native Spanish-speaking cast for the Puerto Ricans, and that they spoke without subtitles. And of course, there was no horrible make-up, as in the original. Ariana DeBose, who played Anita, was a standout for me, and she won the Best Supporting Actress Award. Rita Moreno won the same award as Anita in the original 1961 film.