The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday and South Mountain Animals

A Dream Within a Dream
By Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow:
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?


Adam went to volunteer in my mother's classroom for the first day of Hebrew school this rainy Sunday morning. We were hoping the rain would be finished by the time he got home so we could go hiking at Huntley Meadows or something -- it was also the last day our pool was open for the season -- but it hadn't, so after lunch we went to see Inception, which Adam had seen but the rest of us had not. I thought it was one of the most creative movies I've ever seen and that it was visually remarkable, but I didn't adore it, which I blame on Christopher Nolan issues; maybe getting in the mood for it from watching Memento wasn't wise.

Does Nolan have some deep, dark secret in his past involving responsibility for a woman's death? Because when someone writes and directs four films that I've seen where it's a central theme (and I haven't seen his entire oeuvre), I can't help wondering. I was only partly spoiled for Inception -- I knew about the spinning top and the dream-within-dream structure, but not the specifics, to such an extent that I made my family wait through the credits to see whether there was a tag where the top was either still spinning or toppling over. But I knew what was coming with Mal because it's classic Nolan, and I don't mean that in a good way, because it's distracting me from everything that's extraordinary in the storytelling, art direction, and performances, all of which are excellent.

The plots of Memento, The Prestige, and this film are largely driven by a male character's being paralyzed psychologically because he lost his wife and blames himself; in all three the wives are more projections than characters, certainly not fully realized characters with agency, and Rachel in The Dark Knight isn't any improvement on the type. (There's another type, the woman who helps the hero, but even when she's played by Ellen Page or Scarlett Johansson, we don't get enough to identify with her motivations or goals.) I still have a bad taste in my mouth from last season's Doctor Who and Sherlock and so much else where women are either pretty distractions or frequent corpses, which seems to be more frequent rather than less in genre and action films. I'm really sorry I didn't see Salt -- it may have been mediocre but at least it's centered on a woman taking charge of her own situation.

We stopped to get me new headphones for my MP3 player at Target -- yes, I know I'm supposed to be boycotting, but I have been to six other stores (though not Wal-Mart which I've been boycotting dutifully for years), and Target's the only one that carries the super-lightweight over-the-ear headphones that neither have buds that stick into your ears nor a band that goes over or behind the head. While I was there, I found Target's 2010 Halloween Barbie, a witch in pink and black, and I bought her to go with a decade of other Target Halloween Barbies -- hey, Barbie has more career choices than women in Christopher Nolan movies, and Mattel made a Rosie O'Donnell Barbie, so it's not like Barbie is homophobic.

Paul made garam masala lentils with eggplant for dinner. We started watching the Cowboys-Redskins game since everyone we know in the region is watching it, but Daniel begged to watch Monty Python, and who am I to deny him Self-Defence Against Fresh Fruit? When we put the game back on, Washington was up 10-0, but they tried very hard to lose until the Cowboys blew it on a holding call that brought back a touchdown on the last play of the game.

A kestrel visits Boonesborough Days to raise money and awareness for Trego Mountain Sanctuary's raptor rehabilitation.

This is one of the screech owls; Adam took this photo of the other, who had lost an eye.

This is a Harris's hawk...

...and these are a great horned owl and peregrine falcon.

We saw many stinkbugs at Washington Monument State Park, though fewer than last fall when they were swarming on the tower.

There were plenty of grasshoppers on the rocks below, too.

In addition to cows, South Mountain Creamery has free-range chickens, turkeys, and peafowl...

...and bunnies in a hutch in the barn.

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