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the shadows. [d.r. thursday]

we can see the shadows getting longer. earlier in the day, the sun is lower in the sky and fall is on the rise. the wistful-autumn-thing is starting. picking apples and going to the pumpkin farm are on our list-of-things-to-do and i’m pulling out soup recipes, planning ahead. i’m hoping the cherry tomato plants will sustain longer. and the valentino basil has rejuvenated; dinner last night was red pesto pasta – thanks to this very plant. we need to order some wood and i’m keeping my eye out for the perfect mums. and socks made a cameo appearance the other day. blue jeans and boots, the stuff of happiness, are itching their way back into our world, having been buried under summer and no-airconditioning wear. i love fall. and nothing stops the melancholy.

we didn’t sleep again. i’m writing this on wednesday, so last night – tuesday night – was a long wakefulness with a smidge of dozing around 6am. i was aware that i was feeling anxious, worried. no amount of tossing and turning helped. once you are traveling down that road, there are no u-turns. i watched the shadows change in the room, listened to the rain, rearranged my pillows a time or a hundred times. insomnia is a resolute challenger. and, in the middle of the night, every question you have ever perseverated over, ever pondered, that has ever even remotely teased you for an answer is present and accounted for, lined up, waiting for answers or action plans. meanwhile, any even breathing of your spouse, and even the dog, wreak havoc with your impulse control.

the coffee this morning tasted especially good. the day is grey, though the sun is supposed to appear this afternoon. i wrote in my calendar, as i do each day, and was, once again, flabbergasted that it’s just shy of the end of september. equinox as i write and tomorrow we fall deeper into fall. equal parts of darkness and light on this day. that might explain my lack of sleep – equal parts of dark and light – the chiaroscuro of the wee hours – when we would rather languish in light, literally and metaphorically.

a year ago today my daughter facetimed me from the top of a 14’er. it was a scramble to the top, rocky and treacherous. and then, there she was. 14,000 feet up, in the sun, sunlight bathing her radiant face. she panned the camera around so i could see the vastness of it all. mountains and canyon and brilliant uninterrupted light and deep shadow. an equinox perhaps by calendar, but overtaken in any soul-sense by the gleaming luminescence of arriving at the summit.

we each have our own personal night-shadows, building blocks of angst and anxiety, dark caverns filled with life events and life decisions and being wronged and wronging. morning usually helps. it’s when what is real-now shows itself in three-dimension and that which is shadow fades just a bit. the existential questions of the night shrink ever-so-slightly. we look at our to-do lists and pencil in time to take a walk, to hike, to feel the sun on our faces.

we know – despite the neverending pondering of the night – that the questions matter less than the moments. we have learned it time and again – watching the cycle of life, sand running through our fingers, holding mica in our hands. we will, undoubtedly, learn it again.

we know we can make it to the top of each mountain. the equal or unequal division of darkness and light will not stop us. and neither will the shadows. each step counts. we put our faces to the sun and get on with it.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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sleepynightnight. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

there is no question – whatsoever – that i lay awake inthemiddleofthenight waaay more than he does. i ponder and wonder and fret and worry and perseverate and plan and make lists and sigh and re-start the cycle over again. i lose sleep over things that are troubling me and during times of discontent. it is impossible for me to not carry these concerns into sleep – it’s disquieting and, most definitely, interruptive.

on the other hand, it takes david about six seconds to fall asleep and – perish the thought – stay asleep. there is little to no tossing, turning, blankets-on-ing-blankets-off-ing, staring-at-the-ceiling, looking-at-the-clock. somehow it is possible for him to empty-his-mind-of-all-troubles and just sleep.

how annoying! 😉

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING SMACK-DAB.

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com


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never enough coffee. [saturday morning smack-dab]

coffee was a recurring theme in our early days. it does not have as big a spotlight role these days, sharing the limelight with wine and lets-try-to-drink-more-water. but back in the day of our writing-back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth it was a super star and you could see how often our bucks were spent on it in photographs taken of coffee cups around the country to send each other. (which literally gives me pause for thought, wondering if that is how starbucks got its name….)

these days? it is more of a guiding light, illuminating the mornings-after-little-to-no-sleep, the balm to heal insomnia, the salve of achier joints, the massage of slower starts. though it is not the only star smack-dab in our beverage list, it is a lifesaver. and there are some days when there simply is not enough of it.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING SMACK-DAB

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com


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ghrelin’s fault. [saturday morning smack-dab]

here’s something to consider:

“as estrogen declines in perimenopause and menopause, appetite ramps up. … hormone weirdness can impact your sleep (night sweats, for example). insufficient sleep can further elevate sensations of hunger.” (gennev.com)

and this additional news:

“the decline of sleep-promoting hormones including estrogen and progesterone is one big reason for disrupted sleep. and the other symptoms of menopause—from mood swings and anxiety to night sweats—also contribute to sleep problems for women. production of another critical hormone for sleep—melatonin—also decreases with age, which can compound sleep problems for women during menopause and beyond.” (psychology today, m.j. breus, phd)

shocking, isn’t it? it makes you want to sign up, doesn’t it? huh?huh?

as one who is smack-dab in the middle of this estrogen/progesterone/post-peri-full-blown-meno fun, i know i am not alone. there is nothing like lying awake in the wee of the night, filled with swirling angst-filled thoughts and lists and no shut-eye, listening to david gently snoring and dogdog running in his sleep, blanket on-blanket off-blanket on, grateful-for-each-moment-crabby-as-all-get-out, melatonin-deprived and starving. i can’t count the vast number of bananas and bowls of cereal we have eaten smack-dab in the middle of the night.

“levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin increase, a reason why many women find themselves frequently hungry during this phase.” (psychology today, m.j. breus, phd)

i blame ghrelin.

and david. of course, david.

during menopause and beyond.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING SMACK-DAB

SMACK-DAB ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com


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saturn and pluto. [saturday morning smack-dab]

i know you have never experienced this. nope. never.

mars-venus. saturn-pluto. smack-dab in the middle.

ahyup.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SMACK-DAB SATURDAY

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com


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youwannabanana? [d.r. thursday]

smack-dab in the middle of the night. like every night. i lay awake listening to the peaceful, gently-breathing sighs and sounds of him sleeping. sleeping! the gall!

and so, smack-dab in the middle of the night, i wake him up. since, smack-dab in middle-age, we decided to share our lives, it only seems right that we share our non-sleep moments as well as our sleep moments.

we are not alone. it would seem, especially in these times, that there is a lot – a hell of a lot – of insomnia going on. it is likely i could, should i choose to, have a texting conversation with most of my friends in the wee hours. we’d all be completely and utterly awake, completely and utterly coherent. perhaps more coherent in the wee-wee hours than in the day, when we are weary from the night.

when one lays awake at night and ponders all of life, one uses up much energy. and thus, i get hungry. and not just a little. in the ‘olden days’ (read: when we first married) we used to get up and make pancakes. there is nothing like midnight pancakes to soothe the weary soul. but we have cut to the chase these days and choose, instead, a shortcut to satisfying midnight hunger pangs. and so i poke at his shoulder and ask, “youwannabanana?”

post-banana we sit, happy lights turned low, and chat. there are no real rules to this. sometimes we watch a trail and joey coconato ultimately tucks us back in to sleep. sometimes ‘grace and frankie’ make a middle-of-the-night cameo appearance. eventually, and it’s heavy on the eventual, we settle back in and sometimes i end up snoozing in-between hot flashes and heaving blankets and pulling blankets up and moving pillows and removing pillows. it’s exhausting. but somehow, it is not sleep-inducing.

i don’t know much. but i do know this: we’re smack-dab in the middle of middle-age. and by golly, we are going to celebrate THAT.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY** – as we introduce SMACK-DAB

SMACK-DAB ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com

** and, by the way, i don’t REALLY “guffaw”.


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sweet sleep. [d.r. thursday]

David Robinson 4by4 copy

i write this with a sound-asleep babycat tucked up next to me.  he is snoring, deeply sleeping, curled up, his paws tucked in, one under his little head.  it is sweet and i savor this moment of his complete trust.  he is obviously in bliss.

i envy his blissful slumber.  i am not as good a sleeper as he.  this middle-age-menopause thing wakes me every night.  and every night, despite my urging to the contrary, my brain, clearly wildly uncontrolled, starts to think.  lists accumulate, calendars form in my mind, my worry starts.  and that’s it.  i am lost in the weeds of insomnia.

after we had spoken about it a day or so prior, dan told me one morning that he had been awake thinking of our under-the-sink plumbing problem at 2am (!) and had, at that hour, come up with a solution.  truth be told, he didn’t really have to wait under the next day; i’m quite sure i was awake and could have had a plumbing-solution-guru-text chat in the wee hours.  wendy and 20 have both teased about texting me in the middle of the night when they are awake.  i am not alone in sleep deprivation.

this painting is like looking at babycat.  a sleep that is uninterrupted, peaceful.  it evokes younger images of small children on mats during naptime.  it is serene.

babycat stretches and rolls onto his back.  he is tucked under the computer cord, laying on top of papers.  but he is content.  and back to sleep.  sweet sleep.

babycat sleeps

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babycatContemplating website

4×4/SLUMBER ©️ david robinson

 

 


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mmm…the gift of insomnia

photo-3it was the middle of the night and i woke up. like wide-awake waking up. but not the i-want-to-get-up-and-vacuum or anything kind of awake. just the lie-here-and-ponder kind. of course, after a while, that pondering gets, well, a little old, and i was wishing i could go back to sleep. counting sheep. counting the minutes (and the hours) as i watch the clock. counting hot flashes.   counting my own breaths. counting the mosquitoes i can hear. counting – sheesh- anything trying to get back to sleep. somewhere in there, the night turned to early morning. and then i hear them. the loons. in the distance out on the lake somewhere up here in the north country there are loons gathered and i can hear their mournful cries, that gorgeous sound, the timbre of which is indescribable and yet, so recognizable. i listen. i am both reassured that all is well in the night and in the world right at this moment. i close my eyes and float with the loons. mmm…the gift of insomnia.

it was the middle of the night and i woke up. i had been sound asleep. we were all tired from a big family celebration. i rolled over and tried to get back to sleep, but the images from the day were hankering to be looked at again. so i laid in bed and thought about the whole day. the moments of hugs, the moments of hard work together making a party, the moments of laughter and great banter, the moments when looks of great love and history were exchanged between people who had been related forever and people who are newly related. i partied through the party once again, this time in my mind’s eye, this time meandering a little more slowly through the precious moments. mmm…the gift of insomnia.

photoit was the middle of the night and i woke up. i had been sound asleep, the sound-asleep kind of sleep that comes from drinking in the mountains all day and weeping at every turn. i was so overwhelmed with the beauty of the day and the drive through passes, thousands of feet above sea level (with, by the way, no guardrails.)   sheer majesty. i laid awake and reviewed the drive. each bend of the road. each steep ascent, each use-the-brake descent. i could feel the air on my face, i could hear the rustle of aspens, and i could smell the crisper-than-the-crispness-of-a-fresh-apple-off-the-tree air. i close my eyes and can see those mountains. mmm…the gift of insomnia.

it was the middle of the night and i woke up.photo-1  i was surprised because i had spent a good part of the day hiking and outside in the superbly fresh mountain air. my sprained-not-too-long-ago ankle was aching and i had those good aches that come with having really great exercise. i tried to go back to sleep, but i already missed the mountains, even though i was still there. they are glorious. they are alive. they make me alive. i closed my eyes and reached out my arms to hug them. mmm…the gift of insomnia.

the middle of the night can challenge me. like you, i can find myself reviewing and worrying and worrying and did-i-mention-worrying? photo-4but tonight i will wake up – again – in the middle of the night. and i wonder what gift i will find there.

in the night

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