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.

Echoes Through Time

Time wasn’t, then was,

once, the universe banged,

whirred, whispered

echoing across space

melody carried by stars

(adding harmony)

and cosmic dust


sound dancing through Saturn’s rings

echoes reverberating through oceans

sensed in two heartbeats joined


somewhere, someplace

time was and is


A quadrille for dVerse. Host De Jackson, aka WhimsyGizmo, asks us to use the word “echo.”


I was thinking about space and then listened to this, Audra McDonald singing “Somewhere” from West Side Story.  🙂


Monday Morning Musings:



“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

–L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”

–T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

“Not knowing when the dawn will come
I open every door.”

–Emily Dickinson

“Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.”

August Wilson, Fences


Thumb and finger strike,

connection made.


Synapses fire,

memories triggered.


Fingers, feet

feel the beat

New York streets

When you’re a Jet

You’re a Jet all the way

My sister and I listen to the album,

vinyl disk spins,

we watch the movie,

only later do I learn it is

Romeo and Juliet, updated,

and that famous play,

with its star-crossed lovers,

is based on older stories,

tales as old as time,

that connect us with the past.


So many movies, so little time before the old year ends,

we see Fences,

(powerful performances),

the sins of the father visited on the son

generation after generation,

connections through pain and history.

I dislike Troy more and more as the movie goes on,

while recognizing the source of his suffering,

and feeling sorry for him

and Rose and the children.


I ask my husband afterward

if he thinks he would have been a different father

if we had had sons instead of daughters.

He says yes, he thinks so,

that he would have been harder and stricter

like his father

who was a good man, but stern,

I was scared of him when I first knew him,

and amazed the first time I saw him laughing with his brother.

My father-in-law was so different with his grandchildren,

softer, gentler, singing Sesame Street songs.

I think of how he connected differently with his children

and his grandchildren,

the special bond he and my young nephew had.


On New Year’s Eve,

I think of people all over the world,

celebrating the new year.

I see photographs of fireworks,

Sydney and Hong Kong,

long before nightfall here.

We celebrate more quietly with a group of friends,

Chinese food dinner,

a tradition going back decades,

before and after children,

the where and how changing over time,

food and friendship

amidst the Christmas decorations and lights,

we discuss our families,

see photos of grandchildren,

and worry about what the election will bring.

Our friends talk of selling their houses and moving,

not because of the election,

but because we’re getting older

(but better, of course

with years of wisdom now)

we’re still us, though greyer and heavier

about our middles,

and we still connect

in the way of old friends,

with jokes, hugs, and glances that can reveal more than words.


One friend gives each of us—her sister-friends—

a bracelet,

matching bracelets,

I think of how bracelets

have been worn since ancient times,

good luck charms,

amulets for long life and happiness,

tokens of friendship.

charms linked to one another

connecting them

as we are connected through our bonds of friendship,

as words connect thoughts in a sentence,

expressing ideas and actions,

taking us into the new year and new worlds

describing our past, describing our future,

connecting them in clauses,

independent and dependent

as we are,

free to make choices,

to keep people out or keep them in,

but also, dependent on those around us

not to destroy our lives, our souls, our planet.


New Year’s Eve, 2016. We are linked, heading into 2017.


We can build fences,

or walls,

but are we protecting or defending?

It’s a myth that the Great Wall of China can be seen from space,

but the lights of cities do glow like beacons,

lights connecting us in the dark,

connected like the water flowing from river to the sea,

the message in a bottle circling the globe,

Help! Find me. I’m lost.

The connection is made.

But, snap!

Who sent the message?

Is it too late to help?


The holidays are over, the clock strikes, we turn the page.

It’s a new dawn, with new words,

but still linked to the past like a bracelet.

Open the door,

peek over the fence,


feel the beat,

move your feet,

dream of tales as old as time

and of now.



I wish everyone a happy and peaceful new year. We may be in for quite a bit of turbulence on this journey through 2017. So buckle up! Have that wine and chocolate handy.  I appreciate all of you who read my posts, and I love the friendships and connections I’ve made here. Welcome to my new readers, too! I hope you’ll stick around to see what the new year brings here on Yesterday and Today.






Dancing Off the Path of Life

A man and a woman performing a modern dance.

A man and a woman performing a modern dance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.”

George Carlin

Some mornings as I’m out driving, I observe a man in a bike helmet at a nearby intersection.  As I stop at the traffic light, I see him on the corner, on the other side of the street, and to my right. It’s a suburban area, but not part of a housing development, so there are few pedestrians. He stands alone, bike on the ground beside him, and then suddenly he’s dancing. His arms move; first one goes up in front of his body, palm out, and then the other arm comes up from the side, as if he’s directing the traffic through the intersection. He sways to a beat that only he can hear. I wave to him as I drive by.

I’ve seen this man several times now, and I can’t decide if he is truly dancing to his own inner drummer, or not. Is he insane because I can’t hear his music? Perhaps he’s doing some form of Tai Chi during a bike-riding break? I really don’t know, and it doesn’t matter.

And who am I to judge? I was singing along to West Side Story (and picturing the dancers in my head) as I drove past him. We all have our own music; we all dance our own dances. Sometimes the music and the dance of life takes us straight down a path; at other times it turns and twists, and we march, crawl, leap, and pirouette along with it.

Martha Graham said, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”  Dance exists in every society and culture. It comes in many forms. Babies dance before they can walk. They move and sway to music naturally and without caring what others think.

Sometimes as adults we need to be reminded that we should not be so conscious of what others are thinking. That we should “dance as if no one is watching,” as one Zumba instructor I know often says.

I opened a fortune cookie the other day to find a fortune that said, “Choose your own path.” Some circumstances are thrust upon us and unforeseen—illness, war, natural disasters, and accidents. Some people end up on a Bataan Death March. But most of the time we choose and take a variety of roads, some smooth and straight, and others bumpy and loaded with traffic humps, or tortuous twists. As we navigate the streets of life, we make selections about and choose destinations for education, relationships, and careers. I think of my daughters, two bright, talented, young adults, and I want them to choose their own paths. I want them to feel free to meander off the path to explore—and dance. I want them to create new trails and new ways of seeing, feeling, and experiencing the paths they choose. I hope they never stop hearing the music in their souls and in the world around them.

Perhaps today I’ll turn up the music and dance off the path—and I don’t care if anyone sees me.