Never Fixed, the Ever Changing Light


Sun above and below, reflections and shadows on the Delaware River

Monday Morning Musings:

“For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have.

The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”

–James Baldwin, “Nothing is Fixed,” quoted on Brainpickings, where you can also listen to his words set to music.


A constant, the sun rises and sets

to the left of my window in summer, to the right in winter

ever shifting, as we rotate and spin, never fixed


the light changes, shining through clouds and trees

reflected on rivers and sea

and prismed in a sprinkler’s passage, never fixed


Sprinkler rainbow and puddle reflection


the birds fly, the flowers bloom, fall, drop their sees, and grow again

the snapping turtle’s slow crawl, the gracile deer’s leap into the shadows

they pause, then move, live, then die, never fixed


Maybe a snapping turtle? I saw him on the side of the road by the river during a morning walk.


as the moon moves through her phases,

do you hear her fiercely humming?

Reminding us in silvered streams, never fixed,


our stories. We choose to sit or fight

against the dying of the light

to witness gleaming through the cracks, never fixed,


forever light comes from stars extinguished

we see it, or we don’t.


My shadow reflecting–light and shadows


This has been a difficult week for the world, though it is also been inspiring in some ways.


A grown daughter’s childhood companion.

In whatever way you can, speak out, donate, and help others. Here is a short list of things to read, support, and follow

Merril’s Movie Club: We watched Just Mercy, which is streaming free (in the U.S) during the month of June. I was afraid it would be a sort of feel good Hollywood movie, but both my husband and I thought it was a good movie with excellent acting. There are additional facts and statistics at the end. We also watched Uncut Gems, which was good in a different way. It’s available on Netflix now.

I’ve written about the musical Ragtime before. It’s one of my favorite musicals, and it seems particularly relevant during this presidency, and right now, the song, “Make Them Hear You” resonates. Here is Ricky the Cat listening to it. (And yes, I may have made him a little bed by my computer.)












47 thoughts on “Never Fixed, the Ever Changing Light

  1. I agree with you about this being a difficult week. It’s also inspiring, as you say, because things are happening that could never have happened before BUT it breaks my heart that the changes had to happen by putting people at risk for Covid-19.

  2. This was so good, Merril. Were you inspired by James Baldwin or did you find the quote after you wrote?

    I enjoyed Uncut Gems (It’s been available in Canada for months… was FINALLY able to watch it on date night 😉 )
    No comment on Just Mercy 😑

  3. Your photos are spectacular! The light finds you.
    The world is so unsettled, but yes, also hopeful. Our mayor announced today he was taking money from the police department to give to neighborhood organizations. We did an email campaign last week to our city council members, led by Kara Walker, asking for a reapportionment of funds–it’s a start, he has been fiercely opposed to cutting the police budget to give money where it is more needed, to positive things.
    And I thought you would enjoy this clip about Brian Stokes Mitchell. That’s the neighborhood where I lived 3 residences ago. A friend sent it to me.

    • Thank you so much, Kerfe! I love that you say the light finds me. How kind.
      I think a lot of cities will be at least exploring how they can change, and that’s a good thing. Thank you for sharing the clip. I had seen something awhile back about him singing from his window, but I hadn’t seen this news clip. It certainly sounds like he got his voice back after his illness!

  4. I believe it was a snapping turtle you pictured. It’s commuting see them around this time of year. But I always think of the ones I see as “she”. Always! I think a snapping turtle is a lucky sight. The are powerful.

    • Thank you. I thought this time of year, they may be laying eggs ( a friend said her husband took photos of one laying eggs in their yard). I hope she got where she wanted to go. I hope it is a lucky sign seeing her! 😀

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  7. James Baldwins’ words never fail to astonish me. I read all of his books when I was in grad school, but I think it’s time to re-read. Another Country is one of his that I remember being astonished with back then. A good place to start.
    May we all never cease to hold onto each other in love, friendship, writerly support, and in so many other ways.
    Your photos are gorgeous…love your poetry, and yes, I hear the moon fiercely humming.

      • I highly recommend James Baldwin’s novels. What’s amazing (and wonderful for an author) is seeing his work – respected ‘back in his day’ by some – brought “back to life” again during this time of unrest and -again – recognized need for change.

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