Storms and Squirrels

Monday Morning Musings

Early morning drama clouds over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020
“If we're lucky ghosts and prayers
Are company, not enemies
I time travel straight back there
You were singing back to me”
--Mary Chapin Carpenter, “Between Dirt and Stars”

Without a dawn, this day doesn’t break
but drifts from darkness, to violet, then grey–
now beating on the windowpanes,
the rain silver-streaks in drumming beats

and we wait for November storms to rinse the month away.
Perhaps December will come in bright with holiday,
and corona will again define only the gaseous light
of incandescent sun and shimmery moon—come soon

this ending of our sorrow,
this longing for tomorrow–
still, I seize what happiness I can find
in river walks and talks with loved ones, unwind

the spools of memory in conversations of before–
do you remember, I say? And we discuss and laugh,
cry over photographs. We dine apart, with heavy hearts–
cranberry sauce red-berry bright, though unshaped, no art

to recreate what is not there. We’re plague-parted
and squirrels must wait, even as they congregate
on lawns and trees and parks. They scurry now
in autumnal flurry, readying for winter’s cold—

Autumn Squirrel ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

and we get older, I’ll not say old—not yet—
there’s more to say and do, to live without regret
for what once was. To hear the ghosts, to mourn,
to cry a storm—I toss a stone, torn

My stone-toss mourning ritual. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, November. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

between yesterday and now
but grateful for what I have.
I listen to the singer sing of love and loss
of memories and dreams—

tears may fall like rain in streams,
but love remains beyond timelines,
never ending, there within, we remember
November ends, on to December,

with candles and cheer, we’ll lighten the gloom,
Zoom our love soon with latkes and wine,
dine and eat doughnuts, cookies, and cake—
celebrate solstice, watch the stars align

in happier fortunes, we’ll look for hopeful signs
in the fury and scurrying of squirrels and storms,
the resting of ghosts in time’s circling arms,
heed and harken how the waves flow and recede,

and carry the seeds

that bloom on a future shore. Just like before—
there’s no more and more.

We have steady rain right now, though it’s warm for November. We may get thunderstorms though as a cold front comes in. Here in the US, we celebrated Thanksgiving this past Thursday, when it rained in the morning, and then was warm enough for many families to gather safely outside. We had a pre-Thanksgiving snack outside with one daughter. It was strange to not be together with everyone. My niece’s daughter and husband made our traditional cranberry squirrel, and the rest of us saw it only in photos. On the left is one from a previous Thanksgiving at my house, and the right is this year. It’s nice they have a similar gold-rimmed platter.

Merril’s Movie/Concert/TV Club: Last night, we streamed Mary Chapin Carpenter’s concert, “One Night Lonely,” performed live at Wolf Trap on November 27. She was alone on the stage, and there was no audience. I thought we were going to watch it for brunch, but it didn’t work out. I did make bagels though.

Homemade bagels.

We finished The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix), which I highly recommend. I was almost ready to watch three episodes the first night. I’ve heard chess sets are in great demand now because of the show.

33 thoughts on “Storms and Squirrels

  1. So much to respond to here! The photos are stunning and your words captured those weather-mood feelings. And we are all plague-parted. Exactly. Your stone throw is an inspirational mourning ritual. XO

    • Thank you very much, Luanne. I appreciate it.
      I started the stone throwing–maybe it was the day after my mom died. The parks were still closed, but I walked to down a street to the river, and looked at Philadelphia and tossed the stone in the water. Then I did it almost every day for a month or so, and now just sometimes when I feel the need. I hope you’re feeling better.

  2. Well, I’m not number one today, but it appears I’m number two unless someone else types faster than I. I agree with Luanne, capturing the mood and theme of your piece today. I especially liked these lines; “Without a dawn, this day doesn’t break
    but drifts from darkness, to violet, then grey– ” Riveting!

    Tell Doug he provides enough drama for a table full. 😀

  3. Wow! I could hardly pull my eyes away from your first photograph, Merril. It’s absolutely stunning. Of course, I should have had my breakfast before scrolling on because your feast looks delicious and now I’m starving! I’m so happy you had a nice Thanksgiving. I think we need to get Mick on the stage at Wolf Trap! I have wonderful memories of seeing many performances at that venue when I lived in Virginia. Thank you for brightening this rainy and very windy day. If these winds move your way, you better hang on to your hat!

    • Thank you so much, Jill! We’re getting some of the wind now. And I hope you’ve eaten. 😀
      Wolf Trap looks lovely. Before the concert, MCC talked about what a wonderful venue it is–the first concert she saw there was from the lawn Aaron Copeland conducting Appalachian Spring.

  4. I love this poem and your photographs. I agree with another commenter — I almost couldn’t get past your first photo. BEAUTIFUL! I breathed it in several times before moving along to the rest of your post. I also grew hungry seeing your Thanksgiving repast. Hurrah for the cranberry squirrels (present and past) —as well as your almost cranberry-colored dining room walls!

    • Hi Will! Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a kind comment. ❤️ The clouds were quite dramatic that morning. I’m pleased you like photos and post–and I love the red walls of our dining room, too. 😀 I hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

  5. There’s so much beauty here. Your morning walks and images are becoming poems in and of themselves. The air is clearer and colder today after the storms. I hope they didn’t give you too much trouble yesterday. We had tornado watches, but it looked like the worst of it went north, up your way.

  6. You could make a wonderful collection of photos and poems. They complement each other.

    It was a strange Thanksgiving, but they have all been strange the past few years. But we are still here, and there’s still a future to fight for. For that, I am grateful. (K)

  7. Ship, Merril, that’s one heavy poem. I’m still shivering. I read it twice, and shivered ever more the second time.
    Poetic, prophetic and positively hopeful.

  8. November is usually such a dreary month and yet I did find some cheer (lots more in here). That bittersweet that we cannot celebrate as we wish with our loved ones in the usual manner.
    At least you have your in-house entertainment in Doug! What a character he is!

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