Monday Morning Musings:
“Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.”
On the inside, looking out
as the earth comes alive
white-flowered and robin-trilled,
miasma, they once believed,
now we know a virus drifts and sits—
stay far away, wear a mask,
and wash your hands—
“Out damned spot! Out—”
in collective panic, guilt,
and a truthful reminder
of scientific fact,
facts, a dear commodity
often ignored, as if invisible,
against the gaudy lies,
pink flamingos standing on one leg.
But now the world is upside down,
will we value the invisible
in the after
as we never did in the before?
Stop, take a breath–
remember the dreams.
“My mother told me this story,”
I say in mine.
It is not a true story
of my grandmother,
but it is a story of women,
of carrying on,
of working and making do,
my inner me reminds me
of this—but also to dream, to smile.
My mother visits with my dead father,
she walks an imaginary pet dog
through hallways she cannot walk,
beyond time and space,
we reach out
in our virtual Shabbos dinner–
holding our friends
and loved ones however we can.
The world outside blooms, trees hold wisdom,
and the river still flows,
carrying ghosts and dreams.
I hope all of you and your loved ones are well. Sending virtual hugs to all of you! And cookies. I baked these Hamantaschen yesterday.
Merril’s Movie Club: we watched three totally different movies this week. All on Prime.
The Handmaiden, a Korean movie (in Korean and Japanese) inspired by Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, with the setting changed from Victorian London to Korea in the 1930s. It is sumptuous, beautifully filmed, and erotic (NOT a family film) with sly, fun plot twists.
The Invisible Man. This new version with Elisabeth Moss is a fast-paced thriller (not horror). If I had seen it in the theater, I probably would have jumped in my seat more than I did. It is also about domestic abuse, which if you want to get all metaphorical, is often an invisible crime. It costs $20 to rent, but I had that much left on an Amazon gift card—plus we’re not going out to the movies.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco.This was one I had thought about seeing when it was playing in Philadelphia. I would definitely watch this one again, and of the three, my husband and I liked this one the most, and we thought if we had gone out to see it, we would have had a long post-movie discussion over wine for this one. Watching the trailer for this one just now, I wanted to see it again. It is inspired by the main character Jimmie’s real life story. Perhaps it is a true-to-life fiction about dreams and lies. Nearly the entire cast (including the street corner Greek Chorus) has San Francisco connections. There are weird random bits within this movie that somehow just fit in–I suppose like when you walk through a city and see strange sights and people.
We also watched the Netflix series, Unorthodox, which is inspired by Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir. This is an excellent four-episode series—we watched two episodes each night—in Yiddish, German, and English about a Hasidic woman from Brooklyn who leaves her life and goes to Berlin. Israeli actress, Shira Haas is outstanding as the main character, Esty. Haas had to learn Yiddish for the role.
i hope so
Thank you, Beth. I do, too.
My husband went out to do shopping today–after our online order got cancelled yesterday. Who knew that finding toilet paper and flour would be so exciting, or market such a cause for anxiety?
Thank you for sharing your lovely musings and photos, Merril. They are always a Monday bright spot. I’m sure your Shabbos dinner was wonderful even though it was virtual. I’m curious about the cookies and what’s tucked inside? Stay well and enjoy your day.
Thank you very much, Jill.
I forget what I share sometimes on various social media sites. The cookies are Hamenstaschen. It’s pastry usually made for Purim. I had fillings leftover from when I made them then–prune, apricot, and Nutella–this year. Other years I’ve also made some savory ones.
I like that idea of the invisible becoming part of our ‘important’ world. I wonder if we will start to notice more than the same old in your face stuff?
I suspect we may for a bit, and then stop. 🙁 Or not be quite as aware, the way you are after any scare or trauma–hyper-vigilant for a while. Of course, that’s normal people, not the man in the White House.
He’s as normal as anyone with a MAGA hat instead of a brain.
Always a wonderful read.
I was already planning to watch Unorthodox.
For my Friday night movie with my friend, I thought oooo The Last Black Man… but nooooo, it’s not available in Canada… grunt, growl, curse. I will check out The Handmaiden, though. So thank you, once again!
Thank you very much.
I think you’ll like Unorthodox, and you would have liked The Last Black Man. Maybe it will be available at some point. 😔
Oh, I know I will enjoy it. It’s right up my alley. And yeah. I’m sure I would have liked that one too. Oh wait! I just checked. I CAN watch it through CRAVE – A Canadian Network that I have for free for another month. Woot!
A wonderful set of images this Monday – particularly the mulberry tree trunk. I want to hug it! Or be a cat and run up it! And speaking of cats, is yours helping you spread out the lacy table cloth, or remove it? She looks quite focused on the tabletop just in front of her … gathering to her that of her color and watching to be sure nothing grabs it back?
Thank you so much for reading–and looking. It’s funny about that tree. I can see it from my kitchen window, but the other day, I just really saw that trunk! 😀
The tablecloth was on the table from the night before. Both cats were napping when we had dinner, but he did that the next morning. It’s an old tablecloth, so right now it’s just kind of piled in a heap on the dining room table, and the other cat stretched across it in the sunshine this morning. They make me laugh!
I love your puddle reflection and the gnarled mulberry. Magical. Sending virtual hugs back to you. 🙂
Thank you very much! 😀
So these lines–The world outside blooms, trees hold wisdom, \ and the river still flows,
\ carrying ghosts and dreams.–while hopeful also make me feel sad. I wonder now (just now) if some of the depression that sets in when under these strange circumstances is because Life as in Nature goes on without us. We watch through the window while the birds, the plants, etc. continue with their life. They are not in a holding pattern, waiting for a signal. I hope that doesn’t sound too “Debbie Downer” 😉 Just something that occurred to me … at the end of a long day at my computer teleworking …
Thank you, Marie. No, it’s a good observation. I tend to be more of a hopeful person, so I see nature going on as a positive thing, but I can understand the depression of not being part of it. Of course, I also do not have it bad as some do who are really confined in close spaces–possibly with people they don’t like or are even abusive. Also, I often think of rivers as carrying ghosts and dreams because they’ve been around a long time.
I prefer your hopeful perspective. I think I was just in a low moment when I replied. The risk of domestic violence—bad enough in “normal” times—is so much higher under these conditions. I can (sadly) imagine.
I do like your idea of rivers carrying ghosts and dreams. It’s romantic and gives a sense of comfort and continuity.
Thank you, Marie. I hope you have a better day today. 😀
It’s Thursday, day before Friday … I usually start feeling a little better as the weekend approaches 😉 Even working from home …
Beauty among the grimness of it all. We finished Unorthodox last evening, it was excellent and Haas just marvellous. Thanks Merril, lovely prose and photos 🙂
Thank you very much, Susan.
I agree about the show. 😀
Mesmeric reflections. May we not forget the lessons. A glimpse of your mother’s world
Thank you very much, Derrick.
The “out damned spot” reference made me giggle. Indeed what an upside world we’re living in right now, as if we’re on the other side of the looking glass. Be safe! ❤
Thank you! You, too! 😀
If I stare at the mulberry photo long enough, I can see a score of faces within it, some as caricatures, some with gaping, roaring mouths, some alien, and one angelic. (I tend to see faces everywhere in lines and patterns.)