Frost-Flowers and Spring

Monday Morning Musings:

Frost Reflections

Crystalline, they catch
and scatter light, frost-flowers
on reflected branches, the real
and perceived now conjoined
in stark evanescent beauty

as over-wintered sun
returns, we rejoice to walk
in not-yet-warm, but warmer
light. A tangerine sky,
fades, lemonade gleams from blue sky.

Tall Pines State Preserve

Tall Pines State Preserve

enough to banish
February gloom—too soon–
the white fox clouds and moonless sky,
and so, winter resumes
her sharp blanket laid on the ground—

Still February–Another snowfall

but still, the birdcalls
begin, no morning choir
summoning the sun, yet bits
of song, the wrens duet
amid jay squawks and crow chatter

high on budding trees,
green tendrils emerge to test
and taste the air, not yet, but
soon, I hear them whisper,
the doves not mourning, woo–love comes

through an unlocked gate.

Garden Gate, or Magic Portal?

We had some warm almost-spring days this past week. On Saturday, we took a walk in Tall Pines State Preserve without having to bundle up in winter coats. Then yesterday it snowed, and today it was only 18 F when I woke up. So much for spring. But the days are getting longer, and trees are starting to bud, and the spring bulbs are starting to shoot up their first leaves, at least in the parts of the ground that get a lot of light.

February is birthday month here, both my now grown children had birthdays last week; my mother-in-law and my husband’s birthday are this week. I may have and will do some baking. Today is also Valentine’s Day. When our kids were young, we used to have Valentine-Birthday parties, where they made Valentine cards and crafts.

Merril’s Movie Club: We watched Definition Please (Netflix), an enjoyable movie about a former spelling bee champion and her relationship with her brother and family. It deals with some mental health issues. Not a wow movie, but good, with a strong, touching performance by Sunjata Day, who also wrote, directed, and produced the movie. We also watched Flee (rental from Amazon Prime, also on Hulu, and in theaters). I’m not normally a fan of animated films, but this was excellent. It’s mostly animated, but with some film clips, too—it’s a documentary, a memoir of a man who fled Afghanistan as a young teen, and who is pursuing a career in Denmark. He gradually reveals some painful secrets about his life to the friend who his interviewing him. Highly recommend this one; I really would like to watch it again.

We also started watching Inventing Anna (Netflix), which I’m enjoying so far. I’ve liked Julia Garner in everything I’ve seen her in, though she looks and sounds different here. This Shonda Rhymes show is based on the true story of Anna Delvy, aka Anna Sorokin.

I just remembered this photo of Ricky as a Valentine Kitten.

Circling, Caught, and Bound

Monday Morning Musings:

“There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:”
–Jane Hirshfield, “For What Binds Us

The stars are sleeping beyond the grey
our sun yawning without thought of dawning—
our pale blue dot revolves and spins, and we,

Setting Sun at Heritage Winery

held fast by what we cannot see, bound to
that spin, and to each other

circling like restless dogs, seeking a trace
of affinity

within the infinity of time
and space, magic, grace,
the universe surrounds us

with light. We pass through rays,
scatter spectrums with our beating hearts
then take

a souvenir, hold that light within
carved, like initials on a tree,
a memory of what was, a star–

its dust drifting through our veins
and soaring on soft wings
from sky to earth to tree

Robins at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

caught in the sea of eternity,
lost, found, cherished, bound.

Tall Pines State Preserve

I couldn’t decide what to write about today, so I gave myself a challenge to use the words passing (or a form of the word) and souvenir from the two excellent movies we saw this week, along with some inspiration from Jane Hirshfield.
Passing (Netflix) is a new movie based on the 1929 novel by Nella Lasen. Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga give terrific performances as the two main characters. The women were childhood friends who meet again by chance in a New York hotel where both are “passing” as white—Thompson’s character Irene temporarily, and Negga’s character Clare who is living as a white woman married to a bigoted White man. John openly declares his hatred for Black people in front of both women. Clare’s reemergence upsets Irene’s carefully composed life and dreams.

The Souvenir is a 2019 movie, starring Honor Swinton Byrne as Julie, a young well-to-do film student who becomes involved with an older man (Tom Burke) who manipulates her, pulling her into a toxic relationship. Early on, he gives her a print of the 1778 painting The Souvenir by Jean-Honore Fragonard, which they also see in a gallery. The painting is based on a scene from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s book, Julie, a 1761 best-seller. (I didn’t know this when I saw the movie.) Julie’s mother in the movie is played by her real-life mother, Tilda Swinton. So, this is the second thing I’ve watched recently with a mother and daughter playing a mother and daughter. The other was Maid. The movie is the director, Joanna Hogg’s, semi-autobiographical story .
The Souvenir: Part II was recently released.

During the week on a spring-like day we sat outside at Heritage Winery.

Saturday morning, we took a walk at Tall Pines State Preserve. It was a golf course turned into a preserve. The sun was going in and out, but it was beautiful with autumn colors at their peak. After we got home it got cloudy, rainy, and windy. We didn’t see any coyotes or other wildlife other than birds.