reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


1 Comment

nothing better. [d.r. thursday]

“the snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning…
(mary oliver – first snow)

it snowed all day, the wind howling, the temperature careening below zero. a white christmas was on its way. the luminaria, though, they would not make it onto the sidewalks with neighbors and friends. it would be too oppressively cold, dangerously bitter.

wisconsin – right here by the great lake michigan – was not besieged with tremendous snow. there were not depths taller than shovelers or windows blocked by towering drifts. but it was so so cold. severe.

and even in the frigid, the glitter was obvious.

“…never settle
less than lovely!
…”

the pond gathered the flakes. you could almost see them individually…the gift of a dry and very cold snow. dogdog laid outside, allowing snow to fall on his fur and, from time to time, jumping up and licking big swaths from the deck. he is a cold-weather dog, gleeful in the snow.

some of our plans were changed because of the arctic blast. i regretted that. for a bit. there were so many things to go do, so many lights to go see.

but the dura-fire was lit in the fireplace, the wine was poured, the cookies needed decorating, the ornament game waited. and we looked out the window and spoke of bing crosby and white christmas.

and it was beautiful out there. and still. quiet. and sparkling.

“…and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain – not a single
answer has been found –
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one
…”

and we were home. together. and i can think of nothing better.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY


1 Comment

mangia! [merely-a-thought monday]

my sweet momma was not italian – no, not at all – but you wouldn’t have known it. “mangia!” she’d insist, “eat up!”.

a product of the great depression, my momma was not privy to fancy and did not prepare schmancy foods. she chose ragu as her pasta sauce of choice. prego made an appearance here and there, but she listed to the ragu side of the shelf. she made many a lasagna, pots and pans of meat sauce and spaghetti, a mountain of meatballs. we didn’t have designated pasta bowls – we used the same corelle plates we dined on everyday. it didn’t matter. everyone gathered felt nourished, by the food, by the conversation, by the love.

i would imagine that – just as we have here – there are refrigerators loaded with leftovers today. all kinds of appetizers – cheeses, hors d’oeuvre meats, olives, grapes … anything you can purchase at tenuta’s – a local italian grocery and specialty delicatessen – in all sorts of containers. leftover pies and chocolates and cookies stacked in containers. leftover homemade pasta sauce and plastic ziplocks with penne in containers. because it worked with the train schedule of our son and his boyfriend, our christmas day early afternoon meal was a big pot of chuck roast chili and cornbread followed by a trip to the station and big hugs and a wistful mom – me – waving goodbye as the they disappeared into the metra. in the fridge, the big stock-pot, chili not having made its way yet into a – yes – container.

i guess that it is the thrill of most moms to have as many as possible gathered around the table. it is a thrill to watch your family enjoy a good meal together, to have conversation, to laugh, to table-sit afterwards. the first thing i remember my momma asking anytime we’d all arrive was, “are you hungry? what can i get you?” and the last thing she’d do is hand us a doggie-bag of leftovers or a snack bag for our travels.

as the boys prepared to leave, i asked, “what can i send with you? what snacks do you need for on the train? what about these cookies?”, though in my mind i was envisioning sending them with a full charcuterie so they could munch on their brief train to chicago. one does not want one’s children to go hungry on the train.

we got home from the drive to the station a little noshy. we poured glasses of wine and peered into the container-crowded fridge. pulling out the leftover pasta, we heated it up in the microwave in its leftover container. the arugula salad was within grasp without having to move too many things around the fridge shelves, so we pulled that out as well. with merry christmas napkins and a couple forks, we sat at the kitchen table eating leftovers out of their respective storage vessels – unfancyschmancy containers. the dining room table – in the space between living room twinkling-light-lit-trees and sunroom happy lights – still had candles and cloth napkins, a tiny tree festive for each of our meals all together, but the kitchen called our names after the holiday rush and we gazed at the piles of bowls and plates, silverware and glassware on the counter, waiting to be tended.

and just before we left the kitchen to go put on our match-the-fam buffalo plaid pjs and thick socks to early-snuggle under a fuzzy blanket on the couch and watch “love actually” i could hear my momma. “are you sure you had enough? can i get you anything else? a little dessert?”

clearly, somewhere in her dna – even maybe way-way-way back – she was a little italian.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


1 Comment

simply love. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

“…and now, you’re here, in a world of hypocrisy and your love can heal us all.” (you’re here – kerri sherwood)

in a universe fraught with challenge, an overabundance of materialism, a shortage of generous kindness, with unprecedented division and bigotry and marginalization of people, it would seem that whatever deity to whom we choose to turn – by whatever name we choose to whisper in prayer or utter in beseeching voices – that, in our turning, we look for light. it would seem that our fervent wish be healing.

it is not complicated.

it is simply love.

*****

YOU’RE HERE – kerri sherwood (recorded on an iphone at the keys of an out-of-tune church piano. maybe one of these days i will be able to record it properly.)

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

and here – another slice of the celebration of the season – from years ago:

and – in this week of preparation – i am reminded of previous years, many, many people gathered in community singing in celebration.

it is the work and the gift of a minister of music to help bring ancient stories to the hearts of people, to help those stories resonate – to help that which is not seen, that which is so mysterious, be felt – through music. we choose melodies that soar, harmonies that weep; we choose lyrics that tug.

my memory bank is full of solos and anthems and cantatas from decades of bringing them to congregations. this is an excerpt of narration and a song from a cantata i composed years ago called “the light is here – a christmas cantata”. this particular recording was performed by the choir of first united methodist church. ❤️

THE LIGHT IS HERE – excerpts – narration & HOLY – kerri sherwood

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


1 Comment

in wonder. [k.s. friday]

right now it is a mystery.

accuweather predicts a blizzard. and we wonder if it is truly imminent. on days of heavy holiday travel, there may be fierce winds, whirling snow, no visibility, bitterly cold temperatures well below zero. such extremes, circumstances that might dictate the comings and goings of loved ones trying to be together to celebrate.

we’ll keep watching the weather and the warnings. we’re hoping it’s wrong, that it’s exaggerated, that it’s cautionary but not totally necessary. that we will get to this day without the extremes.

it is days before the day before the eve of the day. and though i respect that app on my phone i continue to plan as if it will be days of celebration and joy and not snowplows and shovels and heet and de-icer.

there is still much to do. there are packages to ship, a few to wrap, a couple to deliver. there are trips to the grocery store and maybe a tiny bit of shopping. there is de-dogga-furring by vacuum and a little dusting and much tidying up.

and all the while sitting in the wonder of the season. people celebrating love and generosity, time spent gathered, kindnesses and the reminder of ancient stories carried into this time, open hearts, hope and light.

*****

I WONDER AS I WANDER

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


1 Comment

12 for $1.00 [two artists tuesday]

they were 12 for $1.00.

but have no illusions. you cannot purchase them in december. at no time – when i have gone searching the stores in december – have i been able to find them. for they are already all gone, scooped up by zealous ornament-gatherers, present-wrapping-embellishers, holiday-magic-creators.

so if you want them – these delicate snowflakes that sort of resemble the ones people used to make of string and flour or glue and glitter – you need to plan ahead. you must be ahead of the curve, at the front line of festivity-planning, your dollar bills in your hand as you troll the stores, scooping.

i purchased numerous packs of these one year. it was a time of transition for me. i had realized that i, actually, didn’t really like tons of bright red and green together and that christmas was fraught with all kinds of stress for so many people, including me, and i just wanted to simplify a little bit.

it started years ago when i decided not to ornament-decorate the tree. we kept it a little more natural with just white lights and it felt serene when – late at night – we’d turn off the light fixtures in the living room and just sit, keeping vigil with the tree. we are still trying to keep tranquility at the center. i’ve added tiny pine trees – sans anything. we’ve added branches and white lights. and we’ve added snowflakes and silver balls.

one of these days i would like to have a big retro tree. i’ll add all the ornaments of history to it – a tree full of salt dough stars and bells and paper mache snowmen, treasured gifts from family and friends, former students and choir members, memories to spark stories for hours. though i haven’t hung it in years, i can see the rogers christmas house ice skating ornament clearly in my mind’s eye. and small pine, a reminder of the sweet story my children and i loved.

and one of these days i would like to have another big retro tree. it will be decorated with old delicate mercury glass ornaments of my sweet momma’s and poppo’s. i remember these, as i take them out of the box, like it was yesterday. i remember decorating the tree on abby drive and my dad painstakingly adding tinsel, one strand at a time, christmas carols playing in the background. i was a child and lots of it was magical, but even then i could feel the holiday stress, expectations, frenetic energy.

the last time both of my own beloved children were home together for christmas was 2014. they have been living far and wide on mountaintops and in big cities and, with limited time off, haven’t been able to make it. we’ve celebrated on the phone, on facetime, on zoom, and we watch them open presents from our couch. a couple times we had real-life moments in chicago with our son and last year we sat with him on a restaurant patio, clustered under gas heaters in 17 degrees in january, having dinner and watching him open gifts in a time of pandemic. it is with great anticipation we wait for his arrival later this week, an opportunity to hug on him and his boyfriend.

sometimes i wonder if my children would both be more likely to be home here together if their dad and i were still married. i know that holiday magic might be far less magical in a less-than-perfectly-perfect household. the thought brings sadness to my core. i struggle, just like so many, some who are living “traditional” lives, some in unconventional lives, some in times of challenge and some with everything they ever needed. nevertheless, i – like moms everywhere – want the magic to continue, want the dreamy holiday and the warm cocoon of love and celebration. i want to create the quintessential stuff of snowflakes and big family dinners and gingerbread and sugar plums. and i – like moms everywhere – know that i can only do the best i can.

the stats on a blogsite show the individual blogs that have been read. this morning – the day i am writing this for today – there was a post from 2018. i talked about roots and wings and children and yearning. i quoted my daughter stating that i was “high maintenance” and laughed it off back then, comparing myself in my mind to other moms through the years whose behavior i have witnessed as indeed much higher maintenance. for, though the words of desiderata ring true for all of us “do not compare yourself with others, for you will become vain and bitter….for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself” we still do it. we still compare and measure and wish and feel ourselves come up lacking. i also wrote in that post that if wanting more time with one’s children was high maintenance, then i supposed that the adjective fit. que sera sera.

joyce maynard used to write a column – called domestic affairs. she shared a 1985 column on sunday, writing about the attempt to make christmas perfect and the bitter reality of its imperfection and its crazy-making. it is a roller coaster of emotion – this holiday season. and there are times that i sit and wonder, trying to magicalize it for my family, for my children, now adults, who i love with all my heart. i have wanted to help the universe dazzle for their holiday, to make each christmas perfect. yet i know that they won’t be. perfect, that is.

i look around me, around our life. sometimes i think that the raucous sounds of holiday music and cookie-baking and a turkey in the oven and wrap all over the floor are the only things that would make it ideal. and sometimes i know – deep in my heart – that all i want, really, is to love and be loved, to share a little time and know that my presence makes a tiny difference – in the unique way of a snowflake – in the lives of all those i adore.

12 for $1.00 isn’t really all that much. simple.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


Leave a comment

cold french fries. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

he’s a convert. we weren’t out of this sweet holiday town a half hour when i asked him to take out the baggie of cold french fries.

my sweet momma is the one who taught me how to eat these. step one: you fry them up. (or bake them) step two: you eat them. step three: you put the leftover in some kind of container. step four: you take them out of the fridge the next day and eat them. cold. preferably with momma’s iced tea, but straight up if there is none of that around.

and so, we turned around littlebabyscion in the back part of the driveway, drove out onto the road, waved to buffalo-plaid-man across the street, drove up the hill to downtown and down the hill out of town toward the mountain range in the distance. stopped and got gas, cleaned our sunglasses and i asked about the french fries.

granted, it was early, but breakfast was way earlier and all that packing and loading and saying goodbye used up a lot of energy. it was time.

and so now, when it used to be that the baggie would solely be for me, we shared the remainder of the french fries that we made with baked clams last night for our pop-up dinner on the porch, our last night in this perfect little town. they tasted like crisp outdoors late at night and my sweet momma’s homemade-just-for-me all rolled into one.

we passed a tiny stand on the side of the road. “boiled peanuts” the sign read.

“yuck,” i said, curling my lip. he agreed, laughing.

but i’m pretty sure i could hear the guy in the sun next to the table he had set up as he turned to his companion: “have you EVER heard of ANYONE eating cold french fries?!”

*****

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


Leave a comment

on the front porch. [two artists tuesday]

an older gent, bearded and white-haired, he has lugged a lighweight rocking chair out his front door to sit in the sun and watch the traffic go by. we are across, on the front porch of this sweet house in this hallmark mountain town, doing much the same, chatting with people as they pass by.

each day now we’ve waved at the man-wearing-the-buffalo-plaid-shirt across the street, called over greetings. he holds up his hand in “love ya” sign language; we return the same. sipping coffee in the morning in bag chairs and tipping a glass of wine in the evening at our pop-up-dinner table. the luminaria are lit and i know my mom and dad – in a place where luminaria must always be lit – are close by, watching also.

we walked later at night on christmas, after arriving and unpacking littlebabyscion, after setting up our tiny tree with seed lights and draping a strand of happy lights over a cabinet and lighting the cypress-pine and balsam candles, after snack-time-happy-hour and before making dinner.

the middle of town is close by. in front yards on our walking-way there are posses of snowmen and herds of deer and the trees along the sidewalks of this tiny bustling place are wrapped in lights. we slow and look in every store window. christmas trees and stars and wreaths and snowflakes, santa stuck in a chimney and candy canes and a big town tree in the center at the top of the hill where, if you pause in the middle of the street while crossing, you can see a big range of mountains as you look north.

it was enchanting. no need to walk fast, we strolled the sidewalks and absorbed the spirit. different than any other christmas, it was just us. but this little town and these mountains embraced us and we immersed in it to help holiday wistfulness.

we went back into town in the daytime and wandered the shops. we found texturally-delicious cloth napkins to add to our collection and i imagine next week – or maybe this weekend – we’ll use those and they’ll bring us back here, to this place and to the peace we have felt here.

and the man with big metal sasquatch figures and lots of white christmas lights will likely sit outside in his rocking chair just off his front stoop again today. it will be unseasonable, another beautiful day, the sun over the mountain warm on his face.

we wonder if he’ll miss us.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


Leave a comment

light infinity. [k.s. friday]

“light of the world, shine on me. love is the answer. shine on us all, set us free. love is the answer.”

(“love is the answer” by todd rundgren, recorded by england dan & john ford coley, 1979)

“we’re standing at the crossing, where day and night divide. it takes all of your heart to keep the light alive. and the darkness seems so endless until the dawn arrives. we’ll hold the spark between us and keep the light alive.” (“keep the light alive” by lowen & navarro, 1995)

it would seem that we arrive at this place each and every year to see light infinity. there, beckoning, gesturing to us or quietly waiting. the days have run into each other. the successes, the joys, the learnings, the disappointments, the issues, the slights, the worries, anger, hurt, promises kept, promises broken, the new, the old, humanness … all gathered in the place of the light.

the flame reminds us of the spark of love into that which is around us. the flame reminds us of the frailty – just a breeze away from extinguishing. we invest too much in the each-day and not enough in the big-picture. we know that.

the light gives us a little nudge. again. a reminder to allow it. grace, acceptance, forgiveness, hope, love do not cease nor do they choose only one wick, one candle. they continue on. and on. lighting. every one. every where.

we just need intend to allow the light. infinity.

allow the light
is all
the call implores.
allow the light
to flood
the heart,
to flow
the veins,
to fill
the space
that craves.
allow the light
is all.
the light is all.

the light
is

(mary wickham)

*****

YOU’RE HERE (kerri sherwood – rough cut)

HOPE

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

HOPE ©️ 2005 kerri sherwood YOU’RE HERE ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood

THE LIGHTS, JOY, THIS SEASON ©️ 1996, 2004, 2005 kerri sherwood



2 Comments

matte, glitter, shiny. [d.r. thursday]

we are a silver ball family. the tiny tree on our sunroom table flaunts silver balls. the branches we dragged out of the woods and spray painted white a couple years ago are adorned with silver balls. the straight tall tree trunk in the bedroom that is wrapped in lights also is dressed in silver balls. the restoration hardware tree on the dining room table has one silver ball and the one on the open shelving in the kitchen has many. all. year. round. i guess, when it comes down to it, we have a silver-ball-thing.

silver balls – when you purchase sets – usually come in three varieties. there are shiny silver balls, matte finish silver balls and glitter silver balls. my favorite are the shiny silver balls (in case you wanted to know this inane bit of information). matte is dully understated. glittery is very holiday. shiny happily catches the light of day and of candles nearby, but doesn’t seem overly invested in any other kind of screaming-ornament statement. a clear winner. but they all have their place.

in a holiday season that celebrates glitter and shine, this year i made sure not to buy glitter ribbon. though i love to wrap in brown paper and glittery ribbons, our children do not like glitter. they open presents and glitter gets everywhere – even on zoom you can see the annoyance caused by the glitterstorm. so, far be it from me to be annoying – we moms do the best we can – i bought ribbon sans glitter. admittedly, i did not have to clean up the entire dining room after wrapping, so this could be a new trend.

i am guessing that the young woman working at a shop i visited yesterday does not feel as my children feel. she had very long eyelashes – butterflyesque – and glitter deliberately placed all over her lovely face. she is clearly a glitter-person.

everyone has their thing.

ours is silver balls.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

peruse DAVID’S gallery


Leave a comment

the holidays. messy. [merely-a-thought monday]

we have a small stack of unopened envelopes on the counter. it’s a stack of holiday cards and we’re saving it for closer to christmas. opening these while sitting together will seem like a visit from these people we care about at a time when visits are scarce and time together is minimal. these cards will help.

because these holidays are messy.

we’ve been succumbing to the hallmark channel. it has been both delightful and a disservice, a bar we cannot touch, with families gathered around roaring fireplaces with cocoa, around kitchen counters icing cookies, around the town square christmas tree singing, around the tree farm choosing the exact right tree to cut down, dancing at the christmas ball. our hearts soar with these picturesque modern-day norman-rockwells and yet…

because the holidays are messy.

in my mind’s eye i can create all kinds of wondrous times – with our children, our extended families, our friends. i envision everyone here at home or at a giant cabin in the mountains with snow gently falling outside, arriving at the door with ecstatic hugs of anticipation. i can hear laughter and records spinning and song and many shared old stories. i catch a whiff of the fireplace and the cocoa, early morning coffee brewing like in all the old folgers commercials, the turkey or ham or lasagna in the oven, snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies with hersheys kisses and krumkake baking. i can feel the excitement with everyone throwing wrap on the floor, bows and ribbons flying, opening thoughtful gifts. i can see evidence of our angels in the air, my sweet momma and poppo, columbus, my big brother, grandparents, even our babycat. i blink and i’m back. like many of you, i know this wondrous time, though perhaps entirely possible someday, is – again – not reality.

because the holidays are messy.

in this final stretch to christmas i know that expectations are high and disappointment is higher. the simplest moments that our hearts desire are somehow unattainable and complex. it is not an easy time and it is on the heels of a not-easy year for so many, including us.

the holidays are messy.

so we keep the small stack of cards and wait to open them. we sit at the end of the evening in the living room lit by the lights of our tree and the white branches of previous years. we write cards and sticker envelopes and wrap packages and ship. we, like you, try to immerse in both memory-rituals and new traditions, try to make-the-best-of-it. we know that time marches on, too quickly-quickly. in looking back we all know how fast ahead goes. we wish for the holidays we can see – but not quite touch – in our mind’s eye. we know that angst and worries and loneliness and exhaustion and issues and comparisons and striving for perfection and dismaying sadness are not supposed to be a part of the holiday spirit, yet we see tidbits of these shades of blue as we look around. we work to move in grace and trust and hold unconditional love as guiding forces.

we hope for less-messy another year.

i believe the cardinals out back at the pond came to reassure me.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY