reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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humanity revealed. [merely-thought monday]

in a twist of irony, the measured-computerized female voice on our voicemail the other day admonished us, “sorry. you did not reveal yourself to be human. goodbye.” 

what??! 

the audacity!

we are sitting in the emptied living room of my in-laws as we write.  long grooves in the carpet reveal where the couch was and a few browned leaves lay in a trail of the shedding ivy that was moved yesterday.  pictures are off the wall and the mirrors have been taken down.  we sit at the counter on folding chairs from the shed out back. 

all along the top of the mantel are shot glasses, part of columbus’ collection, the rest of which are on shelving downstairs or on top of the player piano in the family room.  they read things like “green bay” or “maker’s mark” or “south dakota” or “heidelberg” or “cedar rapids, iowa” or “yosemite national park” or “krakow” or “utah shakespeare festival” or “ithaca college” or “chicago” or “estes park” or “florida” or “skagway”.  over a hundred, there are too many to list.  but they are a glimpse into a life – a human life – a timeline shared by others. 

columbus went to some of these places, not all.  but his beloved family and dear friends would bring him tiny glassware from wherever they roamed.  their story became his story in the way that sharing stories works. 

it would be a 100-act play to sit and listen to the narrative behind each of these memory shots; it would reveal times of travel and joy and yearning and the seeking of adventure.  it would traverse across miles of decades; it would travel around the globe.  it would be punctuated with laughter and sighs and maybe a few tears. 

the thing i know – it would be rich with human-ness, rich with revelation, rich with love.

*****

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


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cicadas and people. [k.s. friday]

the cicada was silent, attached to the deck. it was late spring/early summer of 2015 and this insect had chosen our deck as its place of transition. we watched the shell, cautious to not disturb it, waiting for something to happen. until one day it began to emerge, looking much like an extra-terrestrial, wings of flight opening and drying in the sun of the warm day. it was a stunning process from nymph to adult, all silent, with no fanfare for this remarkable transformation. suddenly, this little being was present on the earth, ready to make some noise.

silence to noise – a transition from nymph to mature adult. a lesson, perhaps, for humanity.

our progression from without-words nymph-baby to with-a-voice mature adult, a transformation of growth, of learning, of critical thinking, of fortitude. as cicadas raise their voices to the sky, buzzing and clicking, choosing their song, their chorus wisely, they answer an intuitive call, they align in truth to their purpose, their place on earth. much the same perhaps should be mature adults – answering an intuitive call, choosing their song or chorus wisely, aligning in truth.

there are times we find ourselves in hush. stunned into silence by the words or actions of others, we sit, ensconced in the shell of our exoskeleton. we wait and we watch. and then, as we rise as winged and responsible people, we have the opportunity, the obligation, to speak – to speak up, speak out, speak for, speak against, speak to truth.

perhaps there are adults who have skipped their instar stages, those phases of development that insects pass through on their way to maturity. perhaps they should have lived underground like cicadas, feeding on roots, a bit longer before they emerged, before they walked on an earth where they felt they could use their words to hurt or harm others. perhaps then, after a slow transition into maturation and with no fanfare, they would choose their buzzing and ticking with more forethought, with more compassion, with more honesty, with more wisdom.

*****

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IN TRANSITION from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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i, a tiny person. [two artists tuesday]

vast.

tiny.

i, a tiny person in this vast universe, stood on independence pass, surrounded by the collegiate peaks and together with my husband and daughter and, at the trail high-lake destination, my panting breath, swept out of my lungs, slowed to tears.

i, a tiny person in this vast universe, sat on a log that crossed a cold mountain stream, under the shadow of a bigger mountain above us and in the grace of the sun streaming through the trees and my breath slowed, cleansing my heart.

i, a tiny person in this vast universe, gazed at verdant evergreens and golden willowy tall aspens, my mind aware of the expanse of time they had lived in such places, my breath a mere few seconds in comparison, for they have lived – and will live – well beyond any years i am granted on this earth.

i, a tiny person in this vast universe, hiked miles in elevation, my breath both aiding me and slowing me down, forcing me to stop, to look around, to be encircled by the air of the rockies, the snow of early freshness, the closer exquisitely warm sun, the scent of both a pine forest and autumn leaves moldering on the ground.

i, a tiny person in this vast universe, my feet grounded on the edge of the royal gorge canyon wall, my heart teetering on thoughts of the insignificance of my being and the very significance of my being, my breath – in and out.

i, a tiny person in this vast universe, in this time in the high mountains, felt both held and freed. love for my beloveds, belief in the moment-right-now, an overwhelming sense of a bigger picture clear, in which my role is like that of a leaf falling to the forest floor, contributing a tiny bit to the ecosystem that will endure, prevailing past my own time, making a tiny difference.

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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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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shift-key. [merely-a-thought monday]

shift key framed

summer is soon going to draw to a close.  it’s august 10 and with today’s feel-like at 96, it’s clearly not anytime too soon.  but soon enough.

this summer has been unlike any other.  in our deference to the pandemic we have limited ourselves to that which we believe shows regard to recommendations given so as not to be responsible for spreading this.  we’ve worn masks.  we’ve social distanced.  we’ve not eaten in restaurants or stood by barstools sipping wine in enclosed spaces.  we haven’t shopped in department stores or had people over in our home, and, differing from every other summer we have had together,  we haven’t traveled.  it has been unlike any other.

but that isn’t the case for everyone.  people have flocked to the beaches and water parks.  people have traveled to hot spots – on purpose, in the name of looking for a break.  people are eating in restaurants and are gathered at bars and at big backyard barbecues.  people are singing in indoor venues and are clustered on sandbars.  people have gone to little towns, vacationing and, with the it-won’t-happen-to-us mindset, placing the locale at risk, placing the locals and the health care system in that locale in a precarious way.  hundreds of thousands of people are headed to or are gathered in sturgis right now.  it’s their summer.  and, if you scroll through facebook, it’s not a heck of a lot different than their last summer.

i read a quote today that spoke to the sturgis crowds.  “there are people throughout america who have been locked up for months and months,” was the excuse for an influx into this town of 7000.  i have to disagree.  any instagram or facebook peek will reveal that people are not locked up; many people have lived summer just like they always live summer:  any way they want.

in the attention-deficit way of america, many people have simply moved on and their temporarily-outward-gaze has shift-key-shifted selfishly inward.  but we are still out here:  mask-wearers, social-distancers, stay-close-to-homers, quietly and not-so-quietly trying to mitigate this time. and we can see the others so we are disappointed, saddened and stressed and we are riding the long-limbo-wave of impossible decision-making.

the masses have spoken – at least in this country – and freedom (read: independence from the government mandating for the safety of all) rules.

but freedom isn’t free, as the old up with people song points out, “freedom isn’t free. you’ve got to pay the price, you’ve got to sacrifice, for your liberty.”

i suppose that our sacrifices count, little as that might be in the big picture.  as this pandemic continues to rage, as chaos continues to ensue, as relationships shatter over disease-disagreement, our not going to wine-knot matters, our crossing-the-road-to-the-other-sidewalk counts, our consistent mask-wearing-social-distancing makes a difference.  it just doesn’t feel that way.  the bigger picture looks bleak and my heart sinks looking ahead, fall and winter just over the we-have-so-many-unanswered-questions horizon.  whether they (in a countrywide sense) are exercising caution or not, our little part is significant.

the up with people song continues, “but for every man freedom’s the eternal quest.  you’re free to give humanity your very best.”

what is our very best?  individually?  collectively?

perhaps a nationwide shift-key would be of value.

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

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“we should be wide awake.” [merely-a-thought monday]

we should be wide awake billboard

i sleepily rub the dreams from my eyes.  coffee helps.  and the snowy world outside comes into focus.  no longer immersed in the land of nod, all things rush back:  the casts, the worries, work task lists, bills to pay, the world around us.  before i peruse the news and the weather, though, i mind’s-eye blow my children a kiss and wish them good days, i hug the dog and the cat lying by my side, i thank sweet d for the coffee with the ernie straw.  it all starts.  the day has begun.

this past week has been extraordinary in so many ways; more on that another time.  i’m buoyed by a hopeful spirit, by connecting with people, by sheer love and the sureness-of-foot taking one step at a time, moving forward; the tide is predictable – it ebbs; it flows.  i am wide awake now, thinking.

“we should be wide awake.”  yes.  for all things.  we should have our eyes open.  we should monitor our response to the positive, the negative.  we should be mindful.  just as worry pervades our time, so does hope.  we need lead with kindness.  we need remember we are sharing this good earth with a hard-to-fathom 7.6 billion or so other souls.  we can’t avoid the reality that the narrative we each individually choose must be deliberately and painstakingly vetted with the truth, with awareness, with sensitivity, with fairness.   not sleepily, not uninterested-in-all-but-the-reactionary-anger-dramatics, not without due diligence.  we must guard against the bandwagon of lackadaisical; we must avoid the geared-down rhetoric of hatred.  we are human beings and we have a responsibility.

just as certain as the tide, it is predictable that the two factions in any division will aggressively forward their agendas.  it is up to each of us to stay informed, to discern, to ask questions, to speak up, to make intelligent, educated choices based on civility, impartiality and honesty, equality, democracy and freedom.  no matter the venue, no matter the place of division.

to be wide awake.

woke:  increasingly used as a byword for social awareness.

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

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believe. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

believe ornament

“i believe the children are our future.  teach them well and let them lead the way…”

“i believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows…”

“i believe in music.  i believe in love.”

“believe in the magic that can set you free….”

“i believe when i fall in love with you…”

“believe it or not i’m walking on air…”

“i believe i can fly…”

“i believe in love, i do…”

“believe me, oh, believe me…”

“believe it or not i’ve been waiting for you to come through…”

“i want to believe in my fellow man.  yes, i want to believe…”

“oh, everyone believes…”

“you know i believe and how…”

“i believe in you and me…”

“oh i believe in you…”

“i’m a believer…”

“don’t stop believing…”

all lyrics.  just a mere short-list.  lots of believing.  there must be something to it.  a natural tendency, a listing in that direction.  always hope.  always belief.  we fall and we get up.  we fail and we try again.  we hurt and we heal.  we keep on keeping on.

because humanity is full of belief.  in basic tenets of goodness, regardless of how you profess divinity.  belief.  the silken gossamer threads of breath.  the accumulation of knowledge and emotion, question and certainty, analysis and intuition, feeling, communicating, learning.  the struggle to stay centered.  and believe.

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

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the twain. [merely a thought monday]

lifebelowzeroquotesueaikens

i shudder when i hear the words “…and never the twain shall meet…”(rudyard kipling)  in my head when i read this.  but sue aikens’ words (on life below zero, she is a strong alaska-proof woman living in the arctic) were not a viewpoint on the polarization of our country.  they were merely the way she was describing the ropes she sets outside her buildings so that in the middle of fierce snowstorms she will be able to find her way, despite not being able to see in the swirling snow.

in life – intellectual, emotional, political life – however, there is a middle ground.  but it has become difficult in our current climate to sort to the middle, to not stand firmly on one side or the other of the great divide, a place that grows larger by the day, with an ever-brewing moat of hatred and vitriol, terrifyingly divisive to families, relationships, communities. there is danger on the far sides, danger in stubbornly and feverishly clinging to the left or the right, without considering ramifications, without any compassion, with an unbending dedication to absolutism, with no room or moment for thoughtful consideration, with breakneck righteous reactivity.

in sue aikens’ world, it will save her life to unconditionally sort left or sort right.  in ours, it may destroy us.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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(y)our earth [two artists tuesday]

our earth FRAMED ART PRINT copy

leonard pitts jr. wrote an opinion column, a gorgeous essay on the moon that we read the other morning.  only it wasn’t really about the moon.   he references a short film (which we watched) by filmmakers wylie overstreet and alex gorosh called “a new view of the moon” where the two men “wandered around los angeles with a telescope…asking a cross section of passersby in a cross section of places…to put their eyes to the viewfinder and gaze upon what they’ve looked at a million times yet never seen.”  the two men found that people responded in the same way, awestruck, profoundly moved by the vision.  the short doesn’t feature the moon; it features the reactions of people as they gaze into the telescope.  leonard calls it “a hymn to our common humanity.”  a reminder that in all our differences we are the same…”we spend too much time looking down and across.”  we are, yes, tiny in the vastness – something i felt myself in writing about david’s painting FROM A DISTANCE that we chose for thursday’s melange.  “so each other is all we have.  but then, it should be all we need,” leonard writes.  our earth TOTE BAG copy

when i drew this simple graphic, i wanted to portray a uncomplicated thought.  an image unadorned with fancy-ness, but, hopefully, clear…or, at the very least, thought-provoking.  “your” earth with arrows upward, “your” earth with arrows that circle around, “our” earth with arrows that circle around, “earth” with arrows that circle around.

it is all a circle.  what we do counts.  how we help counts.  how we help our earth.  how we help each other.

our earth SQ PILLOW copy

our earth LEGGINGS copy

OUR EARTH MUG copy

OUR EARTH BEACH TOWEL copy

THIS IS (Y)OUR EARTH – TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

THIS IS (Y)OUR EARTH – PRODUCTS ON SOCIETY6.COM/TWOARTISTS

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THIS IS (Y)OUR EARTH ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson

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