reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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i struck gold. [k.s. friday]

once upon a time, a long long time ago in a faraway place, something happened. and then, there was A Rift, chasm-like and mysterious to those who followed. members of a family – my family – got hurt and angry and argued and dissed each other and cut off communication. no one really remembers the details but it must have been of gigantic proportion because decades have passed and relationships never regained their footing.

and then.

in the aftermath of breaking both my wrists last year, in the beginning of this global pandemic, in a time of upending change, i decided that life was too short for something i really could not remember, for something that had nothing to do with me, for something that represents tear-down instead of build-up. i started to research.

now, with google and all manners of social media, it doesn’t take a private investigator type to find people these days. it was not very hard.

and suddenly, my long-lost first cousins were there. in a tiny family tree, it is hugely significant to find first cousins, part of the constellation. sadly, two of them had passed, though there is open opportunity to be in touch with their families. and, miracle of miracles, the one remaining elder in the family from either side – my mom’s or my dad’s – in that age bracket and generation – my aunt – at almost-99-now – was alive and well. this woman who grew up with my father, who could tell me stories of my daddy when he was little-little, was still on this planet and i had had no idea.

i reached out.

just because i don’t remember, nor care, about The Great Rift didn’t mean that others felt the same way. so i was concerned and had some trepidation. but i was determined to try. for five decades i had lost the opportunity to know these people, my relatives. i had lost the chance to spend time with them, get to know them, laugh and cry with them, love them. i had lost over fifty years of relationship, over fifty years of connection. and that loss, something i’ve thought about on and off for these decades, was worth the risk. there’s way too much of that. loss.

they reached back.

and they didn’t just reach back. they reached back with joy. it was amazing to message and talk with cousin tony and cousin linda. it was thrilling to re-connect, my cousin tony laughing when i asked him to tell me everything, from every day, starting from 1970 or so.

in the middle of a pandemic, it is impossible to have the chance to go and (re)meet them yet, but we have our sights set on it for whenever it is safe. a chance to hug my aunt helen will be a chance to hug my dad once again. a chance to laugh heartily with my cousins and their children will be a chance to touch the heart of budding relationships, to touch dna.

though we have been connected despite our disconnectedness, it is a celebration for me to re-connect the dots. at a time when really nothing is more important than relationships, it is not time to be circumspect about connection. we are related! my cousin linda wrote words of promise i hold dear, “i can’t wait for the day when we just pick up the phone and just call each other without having to think about it.” yes. and cousin tony’s words ring true for me, “let’s not lose this connection again.”

Great Rifts seem to be prevalent. especially in these times of divisiveness. as i think about all the tragedies of even just the last months, i wonder what could be so important, so utterly pivotal, that could destroy connection. there is no doubt. we could exist somewhat without others, without ties. but connectedness feeds us and our souls in ways that nothing else can.

my sweet momma used to remind me of the girl scout song, “make new friends but keep the old. one is silver and the other’s gold.”

connected.

grateful.

i struck gold.

*****

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CONNECTED from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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first. [merely-a-thought monday]

it’s rare to wander into a place without footprints. a combed beach, an untouched snowfield, beckon you to step, to be first, to be the only one.

after a snowfall a few years back we went hiking out in the county. the only being there before us was a deer, its tracks evident in the snow. and then ours. the three of us in quietude together, before anyone else. it made everything feel pure and connected; it was a jewel of a day.

we went hiking on one of our favorite trails closer by. snowpants swishing and our feet breaking through the snowcrust, we were the only ones. the snow was untouched, a blank canvas, inviting both our steps and the humble retreat we considered to preserve it. it’s magical to look backwards on the trail and see only the tracks you have laid there.

yes, “there’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on.” (c.r. brunt)

in the opening notes of a new composition, many composers, artists, writers feel that they are going where no one else has trod before. we are given to the thought that in our uniqueness we will have something to say, sing, play, paint, draw that no one – ever – before has said, sung, played, painted or drawn. it is not likely that this is true.

in the way that everything cycles around us, so do the notes, the colors, the words, waiting in clouds of possibility all around us to be positioned together, partnered, brought into one. we, as artists, choose from these barely visible pots. we fuss, we nuance, we finesse, we fingerprint, we make it our own.

and yet, much later, decades even, in looking back over the trail – the song, the poem, the story, the painting – we recognize glimmers from those who have walked before. threads of connection, purity of the artist-collective-story, souls woven in the telling of the human-tale. original-first and cyclically-repeating.

because, indeed, as the snow melts on the trail, it reveals evidence of others who have been there, others who have left their words, their notes, their colors. others who have left their footprints, their tracks, back to another day when someone else was first.

*****

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they laughed. [k.s. friday]

they laughed.

two people in a facebook thread LAUGHED (with the convenient use of laughing emojis) at a post i wrote responding to someone’s perception that there wasn’t a lot of peace and love going on in my town and to a comment about kenosha and what “BLM and rioters have done to beautiful cities” and that “denying that it exists [wouldn’t] make it go away.” i was sincere and fervently hopeful, while recognizing realities:

“here, with a house full of smoke from the fires, within hearing distance of the militia shots in the street. we could hear the blasts of tear gas, the yelling and chanting. we had a visceral front seat. but we also see many, many, many people coming together to try to address a long-standing (forever) problem of this nation. denying systemic racism exists will not make it go away. it is incredibly sad that conversation has to be aggressive and pointed, rather than generative and mindfully intentional. cities can be rebuilt, but lives are lost forever. i don’t want to live in a city that looks beautiful and is ugly underneath.”

and they laughed. LAUGHED. i had to step away to catch my breath before i could respond. what is becoming of human decency these days?

yes. kenosha painted boarded-up windows and painted over graffiti of negative messaging. yes. because, connectivity and love are the beginning. and reminders of those can only help. each positive message – in a city boarded up and burned and looted – reminds us of the most basic of emotions: LOVE. each positive message reminds us – as we walk about in this raw wound – that we are incomplete, we are flawed and we have much work to do. we need listen to each other, without overtalking. we need speak, without animosity. we need respect, without exception. we need conversation. we need connection. each positive message reminds us that hope exists, even in the tiniest brush of paint on wooden board.

this is a time of division, to be sure. day after day i am confronted with this reality and with peoples’ brazen attempts to undermine relationship with rhetoric and falsehoods, misplaced loyalties and inaccurate assumptions, and, worse yet, words of aggressive animosity and actual hatred. i wonder what the fallout will be. will the silken gossamer threads of connection sustain? will empathy fall by the wayside? will love of humanity – in all its shapes and sizes, genders, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic positions, religious affiliations – all its anythings – prevail?

“we live between the act of awakening and the act of surrender.” (john o’donohue) the question is always, every single day, how will we live? how will we spend that time? who will we be?

realizing the vast array of wise words that would also be appropriate alongside photographs we’ve taken in kenosha, i chose to post these words of dr. martin luther king jr., “darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” and i added this in answer to derisive comments about protestors:

“one of the foremost protestors in this land was dr. martin luther king jr. the thousands of people who walked in peaceful protest here, even drove and marched right by our house, were walking in that spirit. there have been rioters and looters in each city of unrest. they are spurred on by the vitriol and angry words of the current president, who seems to revel in discord and chaos. the fact is, the vast majority of people who are protesting in this nation are protesting in peace. just like in kenosha. this nation needs equality – the only way to get there is to listen to those who speak, listen to those who protest. their words count.”

and then, in a fine example of what conversation has defaulted to, i was called a “cupcake”, a “snowflake” and “infantile”. wow. i beg your pardon.

and they laughed? how dare they.

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read DAVID’s thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

CONNECTED ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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kindred spirits… [k.s. friday]

kindredspirits song box2

you know who you are.  we have connected in life and we will never be the same.  a few seconds, a season, a lifetime.   it’s all eternal.  you just know.  wherever each of us may roam, no matter where any of us reside, we stay connected, we stay woven into the fabric of each other.  you have blessed me with time spent and i have given you deeply invested moments.  we are human beings on this good earth.  we are creatures on this good earth.  in this vast universe, not to divide, but to join together.  we lead with love.  we are kindred spirits.  close.  or away.  it matters not.  it’s the same.

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heart in sand website box

KINDRED SPIRITS…AWAY from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

 


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connected. [k.s. friday]

connected songbox

“wherever you are, that’s where i will be…” the framed needlepoint hangs next to my dresser.  every day i see this message, a message of unrelenting connectedness.

life has a way of taking us near and far, to and from the people we love. children grow and fly free.  siblings scatter around the world in pursuit of their dreams.  parents age and leave this plane of existence.  friends are close; friends move far away.   i can speak for those of us who are particularly extra-ordinarily thready – these are tough challenges.

on the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART, this piece CONNECTED follows the piece i composed called MISSING.  it was a self-reminder when i placed the track order that way.  the connection between us eclipses the missing.  our connections guarantee that they will surpass missing and wrap around us like soft blankets right out of the dryer.  we have to just stand still and feel them.

we had the blissful opportunity of being together with both My Girl and My Boy under the same roof at the same time for a period of days.  my annoying-mother-ness took lots of pictures and memorized moments, from hilariously funny to touchingly heart-full to painfully real.  the first moments i saw each of them deplane at the tiny island airport will be indelibly sketched in my mind.  pure joy.

we are connected.  despite our proximity, despite distance from one visit to the next, despite time between, we are connected.  i will – comfortingly, reassuringly, lovingly, supportively, annoyingly, and yes, unrelentingly – always be there for them.  always.

that is what connection is.

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BootsWeddingBoots website box copy

CONNECTED from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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all that shimmers.

i walk downstairs to his studio often while he paints. i sit in one of the rocking chairs and watch or talk or sip coffee with him. and i fall in love. this happens again and again. it’s on “repeat” – this falling-in-love-with-a-work-on-the-wall. something jumps out at me or gently reaches out and shimmers its way to my heart and i am forever connected. and i say, “you can’t sell this one!”

IMG_0028

he can’t sell this one.  my heart is ever-connected to it.

now, of course, for someone who makes a living as an artist, eliminating pieces from the mix of those available for sale can be somewhat exasperatingly limiting. but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. and sometimes, when he paints, i want to keep it. (actually, that happens often, so i should get credit for not always acting on my heart-impulse.)

we were at ukulele band rehearsal a few nights ago. i had my phone out because i had forgotten to bring a AA battery for the clock on the wall and so i needed my phone handy for timing. my uke band does not want to go overtime, unless the patio and wine are involved. suddenly it dinged and there was a text message. and i needed to share with them…..at that moment david’s sister had texted that his great-niece, who was in labor, had begun “pushing”. in a short time there would be a new baby girl in the world. shimmering, indeed.

so many shimmering moments. sitting with dear friends around a potluck meal and laughing uncontrollably. the moment the boy calls to show you via facetime their new apartment. noticing the moon at night. a glass of wine by the chiminea. the first glimpse of color in the woods. IMG_0027seeing the girl in the flannel shirt you passed to her from your dad, her pa. a combed beach. IMG_3137tears of joy. holding hands in prayer. waking up pretzeled together. rich bass notes on my piano. a bite of a really good pear or a honey crisp apple. the dog and cat laying together. holding your child, tiny or grown. telling old stories. turning your head while driving the car to see your husband gazing at you. a first cup of morning coffee in bed. seeing the birds lined up at the bird feeder. listening to gabriel’s oboe.

it is sobering to think about all that is happening at any given moment, all over the world. our connection to all -through all the layers- makes it all ours. the good and the bad, the exquisite and the devastating. which should probably make us realize that any moments we are having that are particularly difficult are also shared by others. never alone. we are all in this together. this life thing.

david reminded me that at the book reading the other night author joyce maynard said, “it is my obligation to live!” it is. to find those shimmering moments. to let them shimmer. to not blunt them or try to put out the flash of fire they give us. the fire to keep stepping. through it all. all that shimmers and all that doesn’t.

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i blame my sweet momma.

IMG_1799three weeks ago we loaded a 5 1/2 foot long piece of driftwood and more rocks and shells than we could count into the xb to drive home. with sand everywhere, we carried back to wisconsin with us morsels of my life on long island…pieces of the north shore and my beloved crab meadow beach, pieces of the south shore and the fierce atlantic ocean.

i have always always collected rocks and pieces of wood. i’d like to be able to say that i could identify each one and its origin, but i really don’t know.  the easier ones to identify are the ones my children painted for me, all of which i saved.  but now all the pieces of my life that i have carried have blended into each other, blended into who i am.

for me, the piece of quartz or granite, the sedimentary rock with mica flecks, the conglomerate somehow arriving in northport, the clamshell that had been home to some northeast clam, the sand in a bag, pebbles, flowers from the field, grasses that dried in the woods…all important souvenirs – unlike a perfunctory t-shirt – things that ground me, help me remember, things i can touch.

my sweet momma loved rocks too. growing up we had a rock garden out back and their tv stand was a huge slab of rock that they moved on a moving van down to florida with them when they left long island. i always knew that i could give her something made of rock, made of wood, something natural, something organic, and she would celebrate it….with all her heart. she got it. that feeling of staying connected with the land she loved, the earth, the very soil, the very spot that gave her a memory. i get that. the rocks around our pond and scattered inside our house, the pebbles in my purse, the 6 foot long aspen branch in our dining room are evidence. the driftwood – and the sand – on our table make it clear.

i am thready, just like my sweet momma. i blame her.

thank you, momma.IMG_1853

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