We Sing Their Songs in Flight

Monday Morning Musings:


Open a window to another universe–
there is always an after
and before

the bang and birth of stars,
the flutter-shift of vibrating strings
across dimensions, the light on stellar wings—

he sings, she laughs
the fever-dreams of future-past-
perfect brings

remembrance, she, and we see-saw
imperfectly and fractured–all
colored by mood and life-swings

in revolutions, the Earth spins,
love, laughter, tears, and fears—it begins
and ends

the stars sing, and we catch their light,
swallow to hold it within, and in our dreams,
or in some after, we sing their songs in flight.

Ospreys Flying over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

Today my father would be 102. We’re going to have Chinese food and ice cream for dinner tonight–both of which he loved. My mom’s birthday is later this month, and she would have turned 99. My parents divorced (twice), but in my mom’s final years she believed my dad lived in the same building, and in her final months, she talked about him a lot, always with smiles and giggles. I think she was in love again. Of course, they were my stars.

The first set of photos were taken long before I was born. My brother is about twelve years my senior.

My mom’s first cousin, who was like her sister, turned 95 yesterday. There was a small party for her. My sister, husband, and I stayed masked in the house, but took our masks off outside. We got her a blanket that had a word cloud of English and Yiddish words we chose.

We ate homemade pizza and streamed a play this week: The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington by James Ijames performed as part of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, which looks like a beautiful place to see a play. In the play, Martha Washington is dying, and the enslaved people around her are waiting, as they will be freed when she dies. In her fever dreams she imagines them in various guises, as lawyers, Founding Fathers and Mothers, and King George and Queen Charlotte. The play is funny, sad, witty, and unique. Here’s the NY Times review.

37 thoughts on “We Sing Their Songs in Flight

  1. I love the old photos. Your dad looks so proud in that photo with you when you received your Ph.D. Lovely post, Dr. Merril. I’m going to miss seeing your morning walk photos on IG so I’m happy that I’ll find at least some of them here. 🙂

  2. And here I thought you only had a sister! What a lovely way to commemorate your date by eating his favourite foods.
    I love that your mother only remembered loving your dad. Life is generous sometimes. It took one thing away but gave her another.
    That play sounds great (can’t read the review as I’m not subscribed)

    • My brother and older sister were like one set of children, and then me and my younger sister were another. 😀 And then there’s my niece, who we say is my younger sister and I call our sister. . .
      Thank you. Yes, it’s funny about my mom’s visions of my dad. They evolved over time, so that by the end she only remembered she loved him, I think.
      You can probably Google the play if you’re interested. We’ve seen the playwright’s work as an actor and director in Philadelphia, and we really liked the play he wrote, “Fat Ham.”

  3. Happy Birthday Merril’s dad!
    Your writing is exquisite, Merril. Your writing is often oxymoronic… in a way.
    There are many pretty words, yet they sit atop poignant thoughts and messages.
    You mom was beautiful when young. The Thief of Time steals from us all.
    I speak merely physically here.
    OMG! Thank you for thinking of me! The mural looks well done and quite interesting.
    The 3rd shot is my fave. I adore faces in murals, and this one is evident.
    Whew! This post is more loaded than that delicious looking pizza! Love reds with pizza!
    Thank you for this lovely post, Merril! ❦❦❦

    • Thank you, Resa! Your comments made me laugh. I never thought of it as oxymoronic. I shall have to ponder that.
      There are a couple of other photos of my mom where she looked really beautiful. And yes, I know exactly what you mean. (And when I look at photos of myself when I was younger. . .)
      I thought you’d like the mural. We’ve passed it many times, but I was never able to get a photo–hard from the car on an expressway.
      The pizza and wine was delicious. The wine is from the winery where my daughter works.

      • Okay, ponder! Whether you agree or disagree, ’tis food for me!
        …and when I look at photos of my mom… and me…. needless to say the Time Thief spares no one. Except Cher! 😉, but it co$t her plenty!
        I’m so happy you thought of me and took those mural pics. Goodness knows underpasses are not the easiest places to shoot. Makes me wonder how the artists got them painted?
        Pizza and wine is so deliciously civilized. Your daughter has picked an interesting profession.
        I LOVE red wine! What does she do at the winery?

      • I imagine if it’s an official project, they set up blocks–but I have no idea about the unofficial ones!
        She’s in the process of trying to decide if she wants to stay at the winery (she’s a middle-school English teacher). She would be in charge of doing the daily wine testing /wine making, and special programs and tours. For the past few years she’s been taking wine courses and getting certifications.

      • It’s wonderful that she’s making options for herself. Both are interesting careers, each in its own light! Good for her.
        You must be one happy mom!!!!

  4. I love all of the photos, but the last two are my favorite. I remember them from previous posts. They are wonderful. I was drooling yesterday when I saw the pizza on IG…now you got me going again. That looks delicious! Beautiful musings today, Merril.

  5. I like how you usually start Mondays with photos from nature and then progress to the human aspect. I too have figured out the ages of my parents were they still alive. I guess doing so must be a natural impulse when our forebears are gone from this earth.

    Your parents maintained a connection even when they were divorced. I sense that your mother never stopped loving your dad and perhaps the same for your father. Life and loving is sometimes a complicated business. Super-duper post, Merril!

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Marian!
      The musings seldom start with a plan–I just think about my week and photos, and go from there. 😀
      As for my parents, I think you’re right. They had a bond beyond simply having four children together. And it is complicated!

    • I pointed out to my mom once that she and my dad were together for a long time before their first divorce–not sure how long, but it must have been at least 20 years. I was fortunate that my dad was always in my life, even though they divorced, and he was a dad for my niece. I think my mom probably hated him at times, but forgot all that at the end of her life, or even that he had died so long before her.

  6. What a wonderful way to celebrate your dad on his birthday. I always enjoy hearing about your parents’ love affair – with its starts and stops and starts again. In the end, he was surrounding your mom with an invitation to join him, in that love. Thanks for sharing the great family photos.

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