Monday Morning Musings:
“There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is suffering too terrible to name
You hold your child as tight as you can
And push away the unimaginable. . .
There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is a grace too powerful to name. . .
It’s quiet uptown”
-Lin Manuel Miranda, “It’s Quiet Uptown,” Hamilton
“The atoms that huddled for a cosmic blink around the shadow of a self will return to the seas that made us.
What will survive of us are shoreless seeds and stardust.”
–from Maria Popova, Figuring.
No human voices break the silence,
but robins and mockingbirds sing, a woodpecker pecks,
crows caw wise warnings, geese honk greetings
I hear a whoosh above and a shadow flits before me, gone
my own shadow remains, long-legged, invincible goddess–
she could push away the unimaginable,
the suffering, the families who will never hear a familiar voice.
She can’t. I can only I look for beauty and share
the way sunbeams sift through early morning clouds,
the astounding variety of flowers in a multiplicity of hues,
rainbows revealed in sprinkler sprays, the sight of a deer family
the charcoal splendor of thunderclouds, the intense blue of the cloudless sky,
color and light, physics and magic, charm and fury—
life itself, cycling love and loss,
we never imagine, don’t expect
plagues, freak accidents, revolutions—
we push away these thoughts
because to do otherwise, we could not go on
and on, we go,
craving life, survival
seeds of hope sprouting in unlikely conditions
growing, reaching for light,
The tenacity of plants. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, July 2020. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020
silence can be comfortable;
it can be lonely, too–
equal and opposite reactions,
we’re pushed and pulled
from the womb to ashes and dust
we ebb and flow
like the tides of river and sea
and yet traces of us survive forever
in shoreless seeds and stardust—
this is the unimaginable magic of the universe—
that in the sparkle of light on water
the past and future exist together,
holding love, loss
Merril’s Movie/Theater Club: We watched the Taiwanese movie A Sun (2019, Netflix). I don’t know if it’s the same in Mandarin, but in English, the title plays on the words sun and son. The movie is about family dysfunction and tragedy; the favored golden son who is working towards entering medical school and the younger son who predictably ends up in juvenile detention. But each member of the family has secrets and depths. After a tragedy, the family dynamics change. Though this movie is perhaps a bit too long, the acting is excellent, and the cinematography is beautiful.
Whitall House with a tree decorated for the Fourth of July. Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020
We celebrated Independence Day, the Fourth of July by watching Hamilton (Disney+). I don’t know if this is available outside the U.S. I subscribed to Disney+ for a month just for this, which was a bit annoying, but I don’t plan to keep it, since there’s not much else I’m interested in on that platform. Still, at $7 and change, it’s worth it. We’d pay more for a movie ticket at a theater. This film is compiled from two performances of the original Broadway cast production, but it includes camera angles that you would never see from sitting in the theater. I’ve discussed Hamilton before. Believe all the hype, it really is a wonderful show, and most likely I’ll watch it again while I can.
The excerpted lyrics above are about after Alexander Hamilton and his wife Eliza’s son Philip is killed in a duel. Alexander and Eliza have been estranged, but in this aftermath of their personal tragedy, they grow close again. Life goes on in the midst of revolutions and tragedies—people fall in love, babies are born, children die. History is never simply about battles and elections.
We ate and drank a glass to freedom (that’s a glass of sangria, banana chocolate chip cake with cream cheese frosting) Ricky was not interested in the first act, but enjoyed the second half. 😏