What is Left Behind?

Monday Morning Musings:

What is Left Behind?

What is a person, if not the marks they leave behind?”
― V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

“To be a Flower, is profound
Responsibility —”
–Emily Dickinson, “Bloom”

Secrets left beside rocks
in sharp-toothed winter and
between summer’s lazy cat blooms

death the void, a life erased
a vanished glow

cosmic dust in our veins,
our carbon footprints, traces of supernovas—
we carry the castoffs of stars—winged things

that whipped through winds, rushed through rivers
into sea and air—captured there—

reborn again.

We’re not remembered, we can’t recall
the distant ancestors that began us
connected all

like bees to flowers, a profound responsibility–

we hold the infinite within, the ghostly gleam
of ancient splendor, the radiance of beginning.

Today is Memorial Day, the day we commemorate American soldiers who have died (different from Veteran’s Day in November). I abhor war, and yet I’m thankful for all who fought during WWII to defeat fascists and authoritarian governments, and support those who fight against them today. It makes me furious that there are people who are fine with such horrible ideas, but who wave flags about and call themselves patriots. And don’t get me started on the people who wave US flags and Confederate or flags with Nazi symbols. We literally fought wars against both.

I read a novel recently that I really liked, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, about a woman who makes a bargain with a dark god of night, that allows her to live on for centuries, but no one remembers her. I had put the quotation above, and then I read Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American post today, where she wrote of a soldier who died in WWII:

“but I am haunted by the holes those deaths rip forever in the social fabric: the discoveries not made, the problems not solved, the marriages not celebrated, the babies not born.”

It made me think about how even when we’re forgotten, traces of us remain.

I also recently read a NY Times article about how scientists can collect DNA from the environment and what ethical questions have to now be resolved.

And speaking of ethical questions, we streamed a movie, The Artifice Girl, which is all about that. An AI “girl” is created to catch child predators, but the movie is really about if or when she should be considered a person. Should she be asked for her consent to do what she does? The movie is structured like a play, and I think it would be an excellent stage play. It is classified as sci-fi, but it is movie of talking, not action. (You know, a Merril movie. 😉)

We also watched the first season of Astrid, a French mystery series that we enjoyed quite a bit. (We’re watching it on PBS Passport.) We’ll start the second season later in the week. It’s called Astrid et Raphaëlle in France. Raphaëlle is a police office, and Astrid is a criminal archivist who is autistic. They begin to work together and eventually become friends.

Tonight, we plan to watch the final episode of Mrs. Maizel—Memorial Maizel.

Some random food pictures:

This is NOT a cat that I saw this morning.

Heroes and Lies

Monday Morning Musings:

Early Morning Moon through the trees

Without moving, we travel far
time and space collapse
as we traipse—everywhere—
from chair and couch

and as the virus rages,
we turn the pages,
hungering for new plots and changes,
a denouement, and all comes clear
order restored, till the world veers

again, and we can only go forward
into what remains to be seen.
other plagues brought serfdom down
and gathered nations in a league—

attempts made, bells rung,
but mostly heroes go unsung
and lies coming tripping off a tongue
gaining currency as far-flung they’re spread
bad news and dread

sell more stories, but check the optics
and we’ll see. Perhaps your story holds a key,
turn the lock, and make our ratings soar
till wiped away by war.

But the lies circle round, and some believe
the tales the sad sacks or the haters weave–
they choose to believe–
but we? We grieve
we grieve we grieve

(well, those of us who see it.)

Sunrise over the water. West Deptford, NJ
Wind whipped. Early morning on the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.

Yet, every dawn is a new beginning
and hope wings to the clouds,
the moon will shine when I am gone,
and waves like a teasing lover
will still kiss the shore,
to dart away,
as far-flung ancient light
dances across the sky, always, and forevermore.

Morning Moon

We still haven’t gone anywhere because of Omicron. Though we bought a few theater series, and there’s a play soon. . .so perhaps, since everyone is required to show proof of vaccination and to remain masked.

And in other news, an authoritarian minority is taking over our government. 2+2=5

We did have a much-needed, lovely family Zoom on Friday night.

Waiting for the family Zoom session.

We streamed, A Hero, Asghar Farhadi’s new film. I’ve liked his previous movies, A Separation and A Salesman, so I was eager to see this one, which is available on Amazon Prime now. Like his other movies, situations are not black and white, and no one is totally good or bad. Rahim is in prison for debt, and while on a two-day leave, he tries to make arrangements with his creditor so he can make a payment and be released, but one lie leads to another, and nothing goes as expected. . . It did give us a lot to talk about, and it also gave us glimpses of Iranian life and culture (and prison system). Another excellent film.

We’re watching the final season of the wonderful show The Expanse, also on Amazon Prime. It’s a very complex show—sort of a grittier, less idealistic version of Star Trek, except it’s about human empires and colonization in space, not aliens. Imagine Rome or the British Empire with rebelling colonies, but in space it’s Earth, Mars, and “the Belters,” as well as various other factions and pirates. It’s not a cartoonish sci-fi show. Characters and situations are not black and white here either. As Capt. Holden says of his world-weary crew, we’ve all done things we regret. (Yet we still root for them and their ship, the Rocinante.)

I’m hosting Quadrille Monday at dVerse, so I’ll be back later today! Cold weather comfort food below. Enjoy!

Saying Goodbye


“Remember me and smile, for it’s better to forget than to remember me and cry.”

Dr. Seuss

Last night, our old lady cat Tasha died. I made the very difficult decision to terminate her life. She was 19, and up until a couple of weeks ago, despite kidney disease and arthritis, she was still coping well and holding her own against the two little boy cats who shared her home. Yesterday though was something else, and when it seemed to me that she was actually in pain and not able to eat, I didn’t want to prolong her suffering. The veterinarian and the staff were kind and compassionate, and Tasha’s death was very peaceful.

Pets are part of the family. If they’re not, then why have a pet? I believe that once you have a pet, you are responsible for it, as you would be for any family member. Coping with their illnesses and death are part of the package. In return for your care, they give you love, keep you company, and provide you with an endless source of amusement. It seems like a fair trade. I resisted getting any kind of pet for many years after my husband and I married because I knew I could not do it lightly. But when our young daughters wanted kittens, my husband and I gave in. That was the start. I had grown up with dogs, and I never suspected how much I would love my cats.

As Tasha became old and frail, it became hard to remember her as the young cat who leaped into the kitchen sink to get lettuce—and that she ran to the kitchen at the sound of the lettuce spinner.  Or that she once had the curiosity and sense of adventure to figure out how to open the cabinet under the bathroom sink, crawl into the space around the pipes, and run around in the area between the bathroom floor and the kitchen ceiling.

One of my daughters (lovingly) referred to her as a diva, and she was. She demanded immediate attention, and this attitude increased, as she got older.  We referred to her as the old lady princess cat. She also began to howl (that is the only way to describe it) in the bathroom when she wanted water from the sink, which she did, constantly.

One time, however, her howling helped to rescue another one of our cats. After a period of very heavy rainfall, our basement had flooded. That night as my husband was trying to pump the water out of it, we think our cat Ricky got scared and escaped through the window, but we did not discover he was gone until the next morning. I was in tears for two, long days as we tried to find him, assisted by friends and friends of friends.

Finally, my husband and I camped out in the dark of our backyard. I placed fresh food, the litter box, and one of my dirty gym shirts on the ground near the window from which we think he made his exit. We accidentally scared Ricky away once. Then cautiously he returned. As we wondered what to do, from the open bathroom window, we heard Tasha howl and howl again. Ricky replied with one his strange little squeaky sounds. I called to him then, and he ran to me.  I scooped him up and brought him back inside. Ricky got food and hugs; Tasha got water from the bathroom sink.

Tasha did not like our other little boy cat, but she tolerated Ricky. She let him sleep next to her, and even let him lick her head.

Tasha could be annoying, and I do not miss cleaning up after her. But I would love to hear one of her howls now. Rest in peace, Tasha. You were well loved.