Storms and Squirrels

Monday Morning Musings

Early morning drama clouds over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020
“If we're lucky ghosts and prayers
Are company, not enemies
I time travel straight back there
You were singing back to me”
--Mary Chapin Carpenter, “Between Dirt and Stars”

Without a dawn, this day doesn’t break
but drifts from darkness, to violet, then grey–
now beating on the windowpanes,
the rain silver-streaks in drumming beats

and we wait for November storms to rinse the month away.
Perhaps December will come in bright with holiday,
and corona will again define only the gaseous light
of incandescent sun and shimmery moon—come soon

this ending of our sorrow,
this longing for tomorrow–
still, I seize what happiness I can find
in river walks and talks with loved ones, unwind

the spools of memory in conversations of before–
do you remember, I say? And we discuss and laugh,
cry over photographs. We dine apart, with heavy hearts–
cranberry sauce red-berry bright, though unshaped, no art

to recreate what is not there. We’re plague-parted
and squirrels must wait, even as they congregate
on lawns and trees and parks. They scurry now
in autumnal flurry, readying for winter’s cold—

Autumn Squirrel ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

and we get older, I’ll not say old—not yet—
there’s more to say and do, to live without regret
for what once was. To hear the ghosts, to mourn,
to cry a storm—I toss a stone, torn

My stone-toss mourning ritual. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, November. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

between yesterday and now
but grateful for what I have.
I listen to the singer sing of love and loss
of memories and dreams—

tears may fall like rain in streams,
but love remains beyond timelines,
never ending, there within, we remember
November ends, on to December,

with candles and cheer, we’ll lighten the gloom,
Zoom our love soon with latkes and wine,
dine and eat doughnuts, cookies, and cake—
celebrate solstice, watch the stars align

in happier fortunes, we’ll look for hopeful signs
in the fury and scurrying of squirrels and storms,
the resting of ghosts in time’s circling arms,
heed and harken how the waves flow and recede,

and carry the seeds

that bloom on a future shore. Just like before—
there’s no more and more.

We have steady rain right now, though it’s warm for November. We may get thunderstorms though as a cold front comes in. Here in the US, we celebrated Thanksgiving this past Thursday, when it rained in the morning, and then was warm enough for many families to gather safely outside. We had a pre-Thanksgiving snack outside with one daughter. It was strange to not be together with everyone. My niece’s daughter and husband made our traditional cranberry squirrel, and the rest of us saw it only in photos. On the left is one from a previous Thanksgiving at my house, and the right is this year. It’s nice they have a similar gold-rimmed platter.

Merril’s Movie/Concert/TV Club: Last night, we streamed Mary Chapin Carpenter’s concert, “One Night Lonely,” performed live at Wolf Trap on November 27. She was alone on the stage, and there was no audience. I thought we were going to watch it for brunch, but it didn’t work out. I did make bagels though.

Homemade bagels.

We finished The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix), which I highly recommend. I was almost ready to watch three episodes the first night. I’ve heard chess sets are in great demand now because of the show.

Waves

Monday Morning Musings:

In the morning’s glow the water glimmers,
shimmers pink on blue,
as light slivers through silvered clouds
and geese and gulls skim the surface

Sunrise over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

I walk. Beauty, akin, but not identical,
the days similar, but different in ways
perhaps not profound, but meaningful
(to me) when I see a deer, or rippled sky

and wonder why—
the age-old questions, life, death,
and who am I? We drink some wine,
and watch the clouds–

we laugh aloud—enjoy the moment,
the storms come, and then they pass
and the waves surge, but they don’t last,
the sky is charcoal, then it’s blue.

The wind blows, the leaves fall
in golden puddles mound the ground,
the moon will hum, the sun will shine,
and winter fade in springtime’s bloom.

And you? You’ll be here, and so will I,
watching the tide flow in and outwards fly,
the shore uncovered again. And again.
Perhaps not a circle, but a chain

Geese and Cloud Reflections. Delaware River. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

linking everything. The waves of light, water,
motion—sky, river, ocean—
dust from the stars, amoebas and trees,
generations of humans, you and me.

The Whitall House and Reflections on the Delaware River. Sunrise. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

Merril’s Movie Club: We watched the movie, Waves. We had seen previews in the theater, pre-pandemic. The cinematic style—lots of pulsing color and light—probably plays better on a big screen. It took me a little while to get into it, but it’s a movie in two parts. The second part explores the aftermath of a tragedy that occurs in the first part. We both liked it, but it’s one of those movies that I liked more after I thought about it for a while.
We’re also watching Roadkill. In the US, it’s on Masterpiece (PBS). It’s always fun watching Hugh Laurie as a bad guy, and it was fun to see the female Danish prime minister from Borgen in it, too. We’ve watched 3 of the 4 episodes.

And so, We Walk

Monday Morning Musings:

In the last spring-like days of November
we handover without hand-touching, transferring
from our home shelf, bubble-wrapped and packed
this simple ceramic container—the squirrel

washed clear of contaminants, yet still filled
with memories. The moment is bittersweet—
we will not be together to celebrate, not like before when we ate,
and talked and laughed together, but here now, we walk

within autumn’s luscious light, as it slow-crawls to fall
and flame-tip leaves, we stroll through a golden glow
where horses trot, then canter, as we banter enchanted by the day–
stay these moments, sway the shadows from lengthening

Horseback Rider on Forbidden Drive, along Wissahickon Creek ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

as they have and will—
yet still, we reflect on this and that, the trill of birds,
the falling leaves, and plants that land upside down
in water, sparkling and shimmering

Clouds Reflected in the River. Delaware River at Red
Bank Battlefield, ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

and through the glimmering, the geese soar
with a honk of greeting or farewell—and the smell
of autumn crisp with muddy undertones—
buried unknowns will bloom again come spring,

when perhaps once again we’ll go wandering,
and the weather will warm, the insects will swarm,
and butterflies will fly away
in the bright sunlight of longer days.

Those who follow my blog know all about our family’s Thanksgiving cranberry squirrel. My niece took over making it several years ago, a project she did with my mom every year. Our family will not be getting together for Thanksgiving this year, so I will only see the cranberry squirrel in photos and/or videos. The squirrel mold lives at my house, so we met sort of halfway to walk with masks on along Forbidden Drive along Wissahickon Creek. My mom loved to eat there at the Valley Green Inn.

Merril’s Movie Club: We watched the movie The Life Ahead (Netflix 2020), a new movie with Sophia Loren, directed by her son, Edoardo Ponti. It’s the story of woman, a Holocaust survivor, who cares for the children of prostitutes, and who takes in a Senegalese orphan. It could have been overly sentimental, but it wasn’t, largely due to the wonderful performances by Loren, the boy, and the rest of the cast. It’s a story of how families are formed from neighborhood people who care.

The Sky Held a Secret

 

'Moon_Path,_Freighter_in_Distance'_by_Lionel_Walden

Moon Path, Freighter in Distance by Lionel Walden, oil on canvas

 

The sky held a secret,

and also, the land–

they told it to the birds,

who scattered it on the sand,

 

the waves swept it seaward,

and dolphins carried it away,

but they sang about it in their songs

until the sun heard them one day.

 

He sang it to his sister moon

(while on his lyre a-strumming)

and you might learn the secret, too . . .

just listen to the moon’s fierce humming.

 

I’m having one of those days, and so, I decided I needed whimsy. This is for my secrets prompt on dVerse.