reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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just over. just beyond. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

just over the horizon, a midwest-calendar-worthy farm. the photograph could be black and white save for the old barn and an outbuilding, red boards peeking at us, just over the horizon.

there was snow. way more snow than we realized. at home the lake effect had kept the snow at bay – this time. but up there, snow lay on the evergreens, drifted along fences and there were even those piles in parking lots. just over the horizon.

we drive and wonder. we take the back roads to milwaukee, choosing to stay off the interstate. we wish to see the horizon as we pass it. we wish to wonder. who are these people – these hardworking farmers in these days? we pause to talk about what life must be like, the challenges, the rewards, what the horizon will bring them as the years click by.

it makes me think of a song –

i look once more
just around the riverbend
beyond the shore
where the gulls fly free
don’t know what for
what i dream, the day might send
just around the riverbend
for me
coming for me

(alan menken/stephen schwartz)

it’s in looking back we realize how far we have come. from where we stand – still – we can’t see how the horizon changes. we cannot see what is beyond the horizon. were we to live life like a leica drone – or a gull – we might be able to catch a glimpse. but maybe all that would do is fill in the gaps – color in the rest of the old barn, show where the silo meets the ground, capture the next bend in the river, the next rise of the land.

it wouldn’t show the snow that might fall. it wouldn’t show new dreams dreamed nor the future coming.

it would simply give us the architecture of what’s out there. but not the heart.

that’s the stuff to wonder about.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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i would imagine. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

at 93-almost-94, i would imagine that my sweet momma felt much the same as she had decades earlier. i would imagine that she would have expected herself to move about the same way she had, to participate in life the same way she had, to be able to do most anything the same way she had. she was always startled when she looked in the mirror, self-deprecating her wrinkles and changed body to the end of her decrescendo. but i would imagine that inside – sans mirror – she was feeling like she felt back in the day, back in the forté of her life.

i actually get it. i, too, am in denial when i look in the mirror. i am shocked to think of myself as almost-63. i am shocked to wake with aches and pains, having had a measly amount of sleep in the night. but behind the wheel? with country music blaring or perhaps the soundtrack “about time” or a lowen and navarro cd or john denver or james taylor and carole king maybe … i am back in my skin.

we – in recent days – have made a decision about roadtrips, which we adore. we have decided that we will not drive the seventeen hour all-in-one journeys of our younger days. we will not drive through the night. we will not drive in snowstorms or fierce rain. tornadoes are another story. we will do everything we can to outrun them. but, my point, since i am getting off-track, is that we are seeing the wisdom of exercising restraint on our drives. stop at dark, have a nice dinner, get a good night’s sleep and start again early in the morning. we are trying not to be foolish. because no one wants to be exhausted or stressed on a roadtrip anyway.

so we check the weather ahead. we try to reasonably plan where we are going each day. we book an airbnb, sometimes a hotel. we keep vigil with our accuweather app. we take the back roads anytime it is possible.

we are yes – getting off the road when it’s no longer safe to be on it.

we are yes – being smart.

we are not – no, not yet anyway – succumbing to our “age”.

i would imagine that won’t be anytime soon.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

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no time to spare. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

this doesn’t really need a whole heck of a lot of other words. suffice it to say, we’ve been there. the days of old – or is it days of yore? – are over. the days of driving with venti starbucks at our sides are over. the days of driving without stopping are over. the days of toodling along with no cares in the world are over.

we are rest area junkies. we know where they are – those familiar blue signs on the interstate. we know which rest areas have the nicest bathrooms. we know the gas stations and convenience stores that have the nicest bathrooms. and we have – more than once – exceeded the speed limit on the exit ramps to these fine amenities. there is no time to spare.

we know that the busy bee in live oak, florida on i-10 rocks and that the sphagnum-moss rest area on the way to door county is clean and safe. we know also that we will “hold it” across montana unless we can find a mcdonald’s and that, even in snow, there are portapotties in the rest area just up the road after frisco before vail. in other news, we know the best back roads and where corn grows high, but we won’t talk about that.

i’m guessing, if you are reading this, you get it. there is nothing worse than an hugely-anticipated rest area under construction.

read DAVID’S thoughts this SMACK-DAB SATURDAY

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meander-er. [k.s. friday]

meander

“…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”  (Robert Frost)

a product of sunday-drive-parents, i am a meanderer.  i’ll choose a backroad.  i’ll choose the woods.  i’ll avoid the six-lane interstate.  i’ll avoid the leader-led-coach-bus-travel tour group. i blame my sweet momma and poppo.

in an obvious life metaphor, choosing to be an artist of any medium -for the long haul- is choosing to be a meanderer.  it’s choosing to live life looking for and celebrating layer cakes – a layer cake of work.  it’s a continual wracking-of-the-brain for the next idea, the next project, next pitch, the next initiative, the next validation of your artistry.  it’s continual exploration and continual growth, surprises and intrinsic rewards of the heart.  and it’s continual worry: how will what you earn equal or be greater than that which you owe.

my parents encouraged my every musical moment.  neither of them was a musician, but their steadfast support reinforced the decisions i made that were more out-of-the-box.  their prideful applause inspired and fed me, lighting a fire even when the embers were falling to ash.  times i would rise and fall and rise again, i blame my sweet momma and poppo.

in somewhat recent days, when i was bemoaning the exponential cost of healthcare, someone asked me if i needed to see a financial counselor, someone who could ‘teach me’ how to budget.  i was stunned at the lack of sensitivity and actual empathy.  “no, thank you.” i responded, while trying to maintain the sound of calm in my voice, “i am actually quite good at budgeting and truly love math.  this is not rocket science.  it is simply a case of not having enough income, even from several jobs, coming in.”  a meanderer.  those sunday drives.

i’ve read plenty of ‘being the youngest child’ articles.  it seems that my profession, lean toward autonomy, artistry, careful rebellion are all because of my place in the sibling line-up.  so, once again, i blame my sweet momma and poppo.

the urge to be off-the-beaten-path, literally and figuratively, to quietly sit in the middle of the woods or i-wish-more-often the top of a mountain, to stand on a wooden stage with a piano, a boom mic, a few songs and a story to tell:  things that are part of my very soul.  the core.  i blame my sweet momma and poppo.

and i thank them from the bottom of my heart.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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MEANDER from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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every breath. [k.s. friday]

every breath song box

we drove the kettle moraine scenic drive yesterday…it was the celebration of our anniversary and we had arranged to take off…everything was lined up…dogdog care by 20…snacks…everything work-related done ahead of time.  on the travel wisconsin website we found this beautiful tour through back roads and areas of fall color that looked like calendars that you buy in stationery stores.  once we got out of the endless whitewater loop we seemed to be hilariously stuck in, we ambled our way north, catching our breath around curves and topping hills formed long ago by geological earth movement.  fall color was everywhere, especially the further we drove.  we missed the selfie stands that were sporadically placed along the way.  but we didn’t miss traffic.  or highways.  or towns.  or strip malls.  it was a breath out of regular life.  a chance to just be together, without work or worries or tasks or errands.  to talk or be silent.  to sing to john denver on baby scion’s cd player.  to gorge on snacks and sip an espresso at a little coffeehouse.  it was the cello line of our day, this drive.  the lift of every breath.

download EVERY BREATH track 1 on AS IT IS on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts about this K.S. FRIDAY

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Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 12.27.50 PM


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the grammar police in my head. [merely a thought monday]

EdPro

i blame my sweet momma.  i cannot avoid seeing spelling errors, grammar errors, punctuation errors in the newspaper, on newsletters, signs, websites, billboards.  we were perusing a website the other day and came across this headline.  it’s an irony that the word “prograMing” (with one M) was used next to the word “educational”… i mean, exactly how “educational” can the programming be if it can’t even be spelled correctly?  aaack. it’s one of those little things that makes me a little bit crazy.  i can’t help it.

that fact (that it makes me a little bit crazy) doesn’t exempt me from mistakes of my own.  certainly, i have racked up a few too.  but my momma was one-of-those-people who made me use a dictionary at all times and would point out the correct usage of punctuation and grammar.  and i am grateful to her!  she would say, “if you aren’t sure, look it up.”

you’ve all seen something along the lines of this:

Screen Shot 2018-10-07 at 3.10.41 PM

it’s true.  it’s a little thing, but in these days of so many wrongs, every little thing done right counts.  even if it’s a mere comma.  even if it’s the apostrophe after the word “it” or, the (correct) absence of an apostrophe to pluralize a noun.   “dog’s” for “dogs” makes me, yep, a little crazy.  (geesh…thank you, momma!)

we were driving through alabama on a back road; it had taken us south toward florida over 100 miles and the scenery was pretty varied.  alabama is an interestingly textured state – from the duct tape letters spelling out “deer rendering” on a black plastic sign hanging next to a long overgrown dirt driveway to the vast cattle ranches with big houses and multiple outbuildings.  but there was one place that we passed that made us just keeeeeeep gooooooing, although i do wish we had stopped to take a photograph.  since we didn’t, david drew you a picture.

are you ready for this?  it was a skating rink.  named – sharpshooters skating rink.  now, despite the pristine spelling and grammar with an itty-bitty punctuation error, some words just shouldn’t ever be put together.   agreed?

sharpshooters skating rink jpegBIG

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

not our best morning minturn website box

 

 


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white sun [d.r. thursday]

white sun primary image BOX

white sun PRODUCT BAR

we have turned into my parents.  on sundays, when we have no other plans, we take sunday drives.  yes…we are those people…the ones who seemingly have no place to be and are wandering around the backroads in the countryside, breathing in deep breaths of freshly mowed grass and blowing kisses at horses out grazing.

White Sun full copy

WHITE SUN 18×48 mixed media

wisconsin countryside looks like this morsel AND it looks like the full painting of WHITE SUN.  perfect fields manicured with crops and fences and dirt readied for fresh planting.  gorgeous.  there is a specific spot out-in-the-county…we drive past…and i wonder if this is the beautiful spot that david had in his mind when he was painting.

click here (or on the product bar above) for WHITE SUN products

click here to purchase the full painting WHITE SUN (you will be directed to a “contact david” box on his gallery site)

D.R. THURSDAY (DAVID ROBINSON THURSDAY) – ON OUR SITE

read DAVID’S thoughts about this D.R. THURSDAY


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old-fashioned goodness.

back road cropped copy

as much as possible. then and now.

we took the back roads home from indiana. we are #backroadpeople as many chances as we can get. with a slice of miles of highway on each end, we bookended farm fields and small towns, tall brown corn stalks, tractors, farmhouses and barns that looked like old schoolhouses. we were in our glory and happy to avoid the plethora of orange barrels and one-lane distractions on the interstate.

we stopped at a bp station in watseka, illinois to get gas. i pulled up and was surprised by the young man (uh-oh, i am definitely getting older) who came to the window to ask if he might help us. now if i were in new jersey, i wouldn’t have been surprised…they pump the gas for you there – it’s a law. but wisconsin and illinois and indiana? no such law. we asked to “fill it up, regular” – words i hadn’t uttered in decades and he politely took our credit card and started to pump the gas. moments later, we were further stunned when he came around the front of the car to clean the windshield. yes! clean the windshield. what??

when he was done, i told this really polite young man that it had been decades – literally decades – since someone had cleaned the windshield while my gas was pumping. i asked if all the stations in town did that. he replied that it was just this one. his boss had owned the station for years and years and that was how he did it “in the old days” so he “wanted it to stay that way.” amazing! the gas was no more expensive than any other station in that little town, so he was absorbing the extra cost. it made all the difference to us. a little old-fashioned goodness. perfect.

kwithpumpkin

then.

a couple of days ago the girl texted that she had carved pumpkins.  the time spent on designing and carving out a face on a jolly orange pumpkin is pure joy…not to mention the pumpkin seeds, if you bake them. a little old-fashioned goodness.

craigers-apple-pie

now.

two days ago the boy sent me a text that said, “making apple pie.”  i was amazed! he later sent a picture to prove it. it was scrumptious looking. a little old-fashioned goodness.

the boy and the girl brought me to an enormous bank of memories i got lost in…all the fall things…apple-picking, pumpkin farms, hayrides, bonfires, marshmallows, crunching leaves under your feet, walking in the woods, pie-making, big sweaters and boots, the return of slipper-nights, the smell of burning leaves, hot cocoa…

there’s this fall thing i experience every year…a melancholy…

kerri-applepie1977

then.

…i find myself spending time recalling long island falls: time in the car driving upstate to apple farms with my mom and dad, time picnicking in a park out east surrounded by the colored leaves my mom adored, time after school on the couch drinking tea and eating chips ahoy cookies after school with my sweet momma, apple-pie-making and cookie-making with friends, pumpkin-carving, leaf-raking, costume-rummaging, candy-gorging, by-the-fire-sitting, the waning sun, the days the sky and the sound were the same color…

kcin-leaves

then.

and time when the boy and the girl were little: the trips to jerry smith’s pumpkin farm, apple pies, baseball and soccer games under blankets, sewing to the last second to get costumes done and later, scrounging to the last second to get costumes put together), the squishing of feet into old boots, the new snowsuit jacket quests, the hunts for matching mittens and gloves in all the places they may have gone…it’s all the old-fashioned goodness stuff….

the old-fashioned goodness stuff….not the stuff of the past, but i think the stuff that the past has taught us…the stuff that warms us, comforts us, renews us, makes us whole…

kirstenwalkinginleaves

then.

i’d write more, but i’m feeling the need to go make an apple pie, carve a pumpkin and light the fire. a little old-fashioned goodness. perfect. gotta go.

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now.


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take the back road and make your own roses

back road cropped copythe sun is shining brilliantly outside and somehow i find myself wandering through the corners of my memories that take me back to long island – my earlier days. i see myself driving my little blue vw bug all over and, even though i wonder now if i would remember where all those little back roads might end up, i am taking all the little back roads. i’m kind of a back road person. ok. not kind of. i AM a back road person.

growing up with my sweet momma and daddy i was the youngest, separated from my brother and sister by enough years that put them all grown up and out of the house when i was a teenager. and so i would be in the car alone, or with my bestest friend susan, on sunday drives with momma and daddy. momma was good at picking destinations. nothing fancy. an apple farm. or a park on the water, way out the island. upstate somewhere. just enough to make you feel like you got away. and never on the highway, if she could help it. always the back roads. for momma, that was the point. my dad was an ace at seeing groundhogs sitting on the side of the road or spotting special birds. my mom was an ace at navigating for him – my poppo didn’t pay much attention to the signs and such; momma did that for him.

i’m sure i learned about back roads from them. and i’m sure i learned about the point of back roads from them. each and every moment a treasure of what might be around the next bend. the curiosity of a back road. the mystery (without a gps) of not knowing if the back road you were on might become a dead end. the laughter accompanying a three-point turn at the end of that back road. the not-knowing. we never set the bar high on these jaunts. we just traveled together and sang songs. or chatted. or were quiet. or we looked out the window. and because the bar wasn’t set too high, we had extraordinary times – moments i still remember to this very day. feelings i still remember to this very day. and the lure and joy of a back road that i still hold close to me.

so often we set the bar high. too high. i’m all for visioning a wonderful life. but not at the expense of losing the moment we have right now. not at the expense of only having this very moment because we are planning the next. or because we think the next depends on this one. not at the expense of missing the back road.

valentine’s day was this past weekend. people have really high expectations of this made-up holiday. we decided ahead of time that we were to buy nothing. anything we did had to be made. by our own two hands. the back road.

and so i made a little book for him, created out of brown paper and jute. accompanied by a teeny painting. i couldn’t wait to give it to him. i ended up giving it to him the same day i completed it. back roads are like that.

he wrote me a poem and rolled it into a scroll, tied with raffia. and he gave me a piece of brown paper, with lines on it and many folds that had been folded.

later on valentine’s day, i found some origami paper in the house (easier to fold, he says – from his experience of trying to make a rose from brown paper) and we sat in front of the instructions on the computer. together. with music on in the background, we sang. we chatted. we were quiet. we looked out the window.  snow falling.

and, literally giggling at our clumsy hands, we made purple origami roses together.   we placed them, along with candles, as our centerpiece for the dinner we made together.

it was extraordinary.

purpleorigamiroses

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