Monday Morning Musings:
“Stars, in your multitudes
Scarce to be counted
Filling the darkness with order and light. . .”
–“Stars” from Les Misérables
“So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.”
Susan Cooper, “The Shortest Day”
“Even if all life on our planet is destroyed, there must be other life somewhere which we know nothing of. It is impossible that ours is the only world; there must be world after world unseen by us, in some region or dimension that we simply do not perceive.”
–Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle
The shortest day approaches,
we celebrate with tales and light
in centuries-old traditions,
we gather, talk, and drink
to drive the dark away
to drive the dark away
we count the stars
on the shortest day,
they fill the sky
with order and light.
With order and light
soon we’ll celebrate
eight nights of Hanukkah
to drive the dark away,
remembering, my mother says
girls were not sent to school,
but her mom knew where everything was
in their store, she could find the peas
the cans had pictures
the cans had pictures
and she knew the prices
she could add the figures quickly–
order in this world
like stars in the sky
like stars in the sky
we make patterns in our brains
and we fill in the gaps
stories of might and if
stories of might and if–
is the movie a cautionary tale?
What happens when we mess with nature?
Or is it tale of mothers and children,
variations on madness and guilt?
Variation on madness and guilt,
describe a host of myth and legends
along with greed, anger, and lust,
in animating stars, clouds, and trees
we try to make order of our world.
We try to make order of our world
in patterns and statues and stories.
In art and poetry and song, we transform
and celebrate the light within
and without this ability
what would we be?
Worlds unseen, other dimensions
beyond the stars, but here now,
we drive the darkness way
we drive the darkness away
with love and light and food
with sisters and sister-friends
with children and mothers and kin
we let the light in.
It’s been a busy, crazy week, and I apologize for being so behind in visiting and reading other blogs. I’m finishing reviewing my copyedited book manuscript. There have been many calls and text with my sisters about my mom’s care. We had to suddenly go to my mom’s when an aide called out sick. While there, we discovered that PBS was showing the 25th anniversary concert version of Les Misérables, which my mom and I both enjoyed. We did a “Nightmare Before Christmas” tour for my early birthday celebration with younger daughter—it turned out to be a fun evening of talking and drinking. We visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Christmas Village.
Merril’s Movie Club: We saw Little Joe. It’s a quirky film about a woman who develops a new plant that she names for her son Joe. But perhaps there are unintended consequences. It’s filmed in bright colors and with a percussive soundtrack. Emily Beecham won best actress at the Cannes Film Festival. We liked it, but I may not sniff a flower for a while.
We’re on the penultimate episode of The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime. It’s so good—and kind of frightening to think of what could be, what might have been, and where we’re headed with the present administration.
And a more peaceful image to leave you with
The last photograph could be of the back of the Bordeaux art college 🙂
Making order of the world. I wonder how many men and women have tried to organise the night sky into a picture that makes sense to them?
That’s funny about the art college. Yes, you can’t really identify the building in the photo, but I was struck by the way the tree branches formed a sort of bower.
I think it’s a human instinct to try to form order and patterns. I think random patterns look like faces all the time. 🙂 And apparently the brain even does it when people have limited sight–it’s called Charles Bonnet syndrome.
At the art college the trees overhang a fountain. You have to go down steps to it so it isn’t obvious from the garden level.
We do, don’t we? And we hear words in bird calls. I know Branwell used to say ‘Now!’ when he saw the cat food appear, and Finbar says ‘Mom Mom’ when he wants me to give him a cuddle. I swear!
Oh yes–words in bird calls.
Ricky the Cat definitely asks questions. (In all honesty, he definitely vocalizes in a special way only to me.)
I think they do. They don’t vocalise to communicate with one another (except growling and hissing) only to because they know humans have this thing with the voice. They maybe use different sounds when they want different things, or in frustration when we don’t understand. Branwell only ever said ‘Now!’ and Ninnie wails on a single rising note when she wants a drink of milk, but Trixie has a whole conversational range. She won’t reply if she’s busy, but usually she at least asks what we want.
They probably realize how limited we are in understanding. 🙂
It must be hell for them 🙂
Ricky seems pretty content on my lap right now. 😉
Too content to talk about it, I bet 🙂
I think you’ll like this “waterpixel” effect on that photo:
Wow–Ken. Thank you! Very cool.
I always enjoy your family photos, Merril. The love your husband has for you is so evident. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Jill. We got a little silly with the photos. 🙂
You two are simply adorable. Such a beautiful thing you share with us, Merril. The love you have for each other and for spending time together just oozes across the blogosphere.
Thanks for the movie tip!
Thank you, Dale. 🙂
I really enjoyed the circular form of the poem…things repeat and change while they are repeating.
And I enjoyed your exchange with Jane about animal languages.
I read “The Man in the High Castle” long ago, but I remember I found it riveting. I did have a Philip K Dick phase in my 20s. I should revisit some of them. (K)
Thank you, Kerfe. 🙂
I haven’t read The Man in the High Castle, but my husband and I enjoyed the show. It was four seasons, so I suspect it diverges from the book. We watched the final episode last night–and we were riveted!
You seem to have the best weekends and a great way of sharing it with readers.
Thank you, Frank!
I like your treatise on the patterns of life; but not the emergency with your Mom.
Thank you, Derrick.
It wasn’t so much an emergency with my mom, but rather that she had no caregiver, as the aide who was supposed to be there called out sick. So, we had to do an emergency fill-in. But she was alone for a while, and I anxious about that.
I understood, but I call that an emergency.
“We try to make order of our world” … indeed, we do whether it’s something as mundane as ordering our books on shelves or trying to understand the logic of particular political events (sadly, we often fail to find the logic). I also enjoy the repetition in your poem, the circularity. Love your photos. You and your family always seem so happy and, before you say anything, I know people are likely to look happy when they know their picture is being taken, but it’s obvious you guys aren’t faking it for the camera 😉
Thank you very much, Marie. We did have fun–the night out with our younger daughter and then our day at the museum/Christmas village. It’s kind of our new tradition to do that walk, so I’m glad the weather cooperated. 🙂
A very neat post!!
Happy Birthday weekend! I meant to say that on Frank’s blog.
Thank you very much, Resa!