reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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those wander women. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

i hearted the comment by one of their instagram followers. it read: “boss move. inspire when you go. inspire when you stop. along for the ride whatever’s next.” exactly our sentiments.

the wander women HAVE inspired us. they have entertained us, taken us along on their adventures, encouraged us to plan, made us dream. we have watched them thru-hike the appalachian trail, the continental divide trail, the pacific crest trail – the triple crown. we have seen them in their rv, bemoaning the ailments that aging graces us with, yet, embracing those ailments, researching, asking questions, dealing with the cycles of grief that accompany those kinds of changes and, mostly, doing something about them. they self-care through the trappings of difficulties; they are solution-oriented and flexible. they are thriving.

their latest undertaking is to ride across-country on surly bikes – rail-trailing – from “sea to shining sea”. they rode from the pacific ocean through the state of washington, into idaho and entered montana. things got sketchy in montana – this country is not yet equipped to ride straight-across – and they were riding on shoulderless roads next to semis going 70 and 80mph, gravel or wobbles threatening their every pedal.

we are proud of their decision to stop. 700 miles in and they have decided to find a new plan, they have decided their safety and the enjoyment of each day is more important than just keeping on in a precarious situation.

and yes….it’s a boss move.

the wander women’s fortitude and courage and open-armed seize of life and experiences have made us realize that, though we have not thru-hiked before, we can set it as an intention. we can picture ourselves outside, weeks, months at a time, reveling in nature and quiet and every step. we can see the toe guards and the snack bags and the ponchos and the headnets. we wonder how we might arrange amazon-drone-drops of wine every so often.

though we watch many trailhikers, many backpackers and, as you know, have a certain affinity for, among others, that elusive my-own-frontier joey, it is the wander women – kristy and annette and, on earlier journeys, lynn, who inspire us, people of the same ‘certain’ age. they made a plan and set goals – retired, sold off their homes, their stuff, paid off their remaining debt, bought an rv and have a somewhat itinerant life full of fabulous escapades.

our plan will not likely mimic theirs, but who knows. the important thing is that it is making us excited about planning, excited about deliberate movement in that direction. those amazing wander women have been active hikers together all along, for decades. they have paid attention to their growth, their middle-age-changing-bodies; they have been mindful about their self-care and their continued movement. they “get outside”. but, they had to start somewhere. our hats are off to them – kristy and annette.

i figure – if they can do it, we can do it.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

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RBG. it’s personal. [flawed wednesday]

ruth bader ginsburg. it’s personal.

i am not thinking that i will provide any new enlightenment about this extraordinary woman, for there are plenty of places you might research her groundbreaking and life-changing work, plenty of historians and writers compiling stories, timelines and amazing tomes of her accomplishments. but i can speak of the heart-stopping moment when i realized she had died.

we had not checked in with the news for a few hours. i glanced at instagram and saw that My Girl had posted a photograph of justice ginsburg. there were no words. i was immediately and deeply saddened, knowing that the chaos of 2020 would soon become even more rooted in division and that the chasm of the aisle would sink lower, into the hot fiery core of the earth.

it’s not surprising to see the hypocrisy that followed her passing. the sheer audaciousness of self-agendized dispassionate souls who have been chomping at the bit, waiting for this moment, is breathtaking, from the president down through his senate minions, all hell-bent. it is the earth quietly trembling that you feel beneath your feet as you walk through these days, reading, watching, scorn and disbelief wrinkling your brow.

but in the wake of this supreme court justice’s incredible time of service, there is no shame for those who slobber all over themselves in their zeal to replace her, to ultra-conservatize the court, to wield a time-travel incendiary to earlier times in the country when elite white men (curious how this describes those wielding as well) ruled everything and equality – equal treatment – of gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status mattered not. how easily they reach for their (metaphoric) automatic weapons to detonate all the good work that has been done, all the justice that has been served, all the good intentions set in place to further that good work. how repulsive it is to watch them spewing words they now gorge on, taking them back, making excuses, declaring their victory to stock the court, like they would an elite fish farm in the catskills.

RBG has had a profound impact on our country, on our world. the loss of her compassion, her intellect, her wisdom is, likewise, profound. it’s life-changing-devastating. it’s personal. absolutely personal. it should be personal for all.

read DAVID’s thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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from jumpstart to coda. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

so much random learning

my favorite snapchat filter makes my face round and my eyes huge, adds giant john-denver-glasses and changes my voice.   and i love it!  using a filter makes short-selfie-movie-making less about how you look and more about how you could look:  with big eyes or ears or as a unicorn or years younger or years older or with different hair or as the opposite gender.  my niece wendy and i use it as a constant communication device; we are free to be as weird as we want to be or as funny or as playful.

when this filter disappeared temporarily – the one with big eyes and glasses and a voice octaves above my normal voice – i panicked.  making a video for wendy as just me was not nearly as enticing and i sadly thought i’d have to resort to simply texting again.  i wondered if i should write a letter to snapchat, but fear those at snapchat don’t read letters.  how antiquated.  alas, even without a letter of reproach from me, it reappeared and all is well again in snapchatland.

technology is throwing us all for a loop…well, those of us who were not born with it in our very veins.  we are videoconferencing for work, google-chatting for play, creating audio and video files to fill in gaps where people can’t be, using photoshop to create slides for iMovies or iPhoto videos, layering audio files on music software, creating youtube channels and pic collages, learning how to change wav files into mp3s into m4v’s, messaging people via text, email, facebook, instagram, pushing our little cellphones to their outer limits (or is it us we are pushing to outer limits?)

we are immersed and treading water.

so much learning.  oy, such a steep curve.  all in the name of staying in touch in these virtual times.  you can’t touch people but these laptops and ipads and cellphones are reeling from overuse.  (or is it my born-in-1959-middle-aged-brain?)

but for those of us with analog veins, coffee is still coffee.  and i am ever grateful for that.  it’s a necessary tool in this virtual world.  every day these days needs a bit of a jumpstart.

and as frank k. says, “that apothic.  it’s such a drinkable wine!”  yes, frank.  another necessary tool – the coda of the day these days.

jumpstart to coda.  and in-between, we tread, virtual wave after virtual wave.

 

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

 

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the cameras. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

cameras

1977.  graduation.  yashica fx-2.  my most-prized possession and my constant companion was the 35mm single lens reflex camera my momma and dad gave me when i graduated from high school.  it went everywhere with me and i made every reason to be out and about with it, capturing sunrises, sunsets, beaches, state parks, roadtrips, lighthouses, birds and other wildlife, my nieces and nephew.  i loved this camera and still have it, although i haven’t used it in years.  i learned about f-stops and aperture openings, film speed and depth of field – all with this camera.

somewhere along the way, automatic cameras began to reign supreme and i joined the ranks with a minolta that made taking pictures of My Girl and My Boy easier, faster, somewhat brainless.  as they were little and moments passed in lightning speed, this camera made moment-seizing more possible, although one still had to wait till the film was developed to see if you were successful.  sometimes it was the blurry photo, the funny face, the i-wasn’t-trying-to-get-that-picture photograph that are the prizes.  they are the ones we couldn’t erase, delete, photoshop, filter.  they were what they were.

i remember roll after roll, walking in to rode’s camera shop and taking advantage of their double-print deal, always sending photographs to grandparents, family and friends who were afar.  having sorted through every one of the prints in recent years, i can honestly say that i have literally thousands of photographs of my children when they were growing up.  perhaps this is the reason they roll their eyes at me now when i want to take pictures of them?

i can’t help but think of what i might have captured on film had digital cameras or cellphones with the exquisite-cameras-of-today been around back then.  video without having a gigantic vcr camcorder on your shoulder or even a smaller, still cumbersome 8mm camera, instant photos that you can preview and take over, every photo or image or video ‘fixable’, ‘changeable’, ‘alterable’.

i have to say i am a little envious of the ability of parents today who are able to document their children, their travels, their, well, every move, not to even begin to mention selfies, and instantly facebook-post it, email it, text it, snapchat it, instagram it, tweet it, snapfish or shutterfly-book-it, sharing it with the world.  it’s so simple.  their documentation will be so much more complete, the phone-camera a constant companion with no real added burden of weight or case or extra lenses or film or a flash.  the rise and ease of amazing technology.

it was with a sense of uh-oh-we-really-are-getting-olderrrrr that we happened upon the display of cameras and movie cameras in the antique shoppe.  i wanted to pick each one up, look through the viewfinder, compose a photo or two.  i was instantly transported back to crabmeadow beach with susan, climbing the fence to snag a few sunrise pictures.  i was in the boat with crunch, cruising long island sound lighthouse to lighthouse.  i was on the floor with my babies, catching their moments.

there was something magical about waiting for that old film to develop.  something that made it sometimes easier to put the camera, the device, away.  something that made it paramount to memorize -for your very own mind’s eye- the most precious of events, the most intimate details, the agonizingly briefest purity of a perfect moment in time.

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

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frosting and connection.

network connections

cupcakes.

and frosting.

i would talk to my piano students about practicing.  i drew a comparison of the time they spent, the way they allocated their time to cupcakes and frosting.   i would start by saying let’s talk about practicing, whereupon most of my sweet students would roll their eyes, a common reaction to the word ‘practice’.  i would suddenly switch topics to cupcakes and they would happily skip down that path, thinking they were avoiding the ‘practice’ chat.  we would talk about our favorite cupcakes and the very best frosting that could possibly earn the top spot on those treats.  and once we discerned that very-important-information, i would pose a question:

let’s say you have a small cup of frosting.   delicious, fluffy, sweet-as-can-be frosting.  it’s just a small cup – like the tiny sippy cups you drank from as a baby.  and you have a choice.  you can either frost one cupcake with that sippy-cup-full or you can frost all 24 of the cupcakes that are waiting on the counter from the oven.  which will you do?

my students, all brilliant cupcake-lovers and bright lights in the world, would sit and ponder for a second and then reply that they would frost the one cupcake.  otherwise, they would explain, the frosting would be so thin that you would barely know it is there, you would barely taste it, and it would be like there was no frosting at all.   and besides, if they got to eat the one cupcake, they wanted the one rich with frosting.  who can argue with that?

contrary to their belief that the ‘practice’ talk was over, i would clutch and shift gears back to the piano.  “if you have a little bit of time to practice and pieces of music that might be difficult to play, would it be better to hurry through every piece spending a few moments on each OR would it be better to spend that little bit of time on one or two?” i would ask (in student-age-appropriate language).   invariably they would frost one cupcake.

i believe the same applies to connection.  with the advent of the vast array of social media choices, we have applied an ultra-thin layer of frosting to our connections.  we have thinned out the time we truly spend on relationship – pure individual relationships.  we have, oddly, chosen to spend easily-addicted quantities of time and emotional energy on social media “relationships” with people we do not know rather than being in real touch with the people closest to us.  we expect those people to learn of things on outlets and from posts instead of simply telling them, picking up a phone and calling or texting them.

we are not connected to a network.  we are connected to a network.  both of these are true.

the question for me, one that i must look at as well,  is – how much time are we spending on that network, on individual people we love and care about?  is there any frosting at all?

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

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it’s a strangely narcissistic world. [merely-a-thought monday]

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when i was in perhaps fourth grade i went to sleepaway camp.  camp koinonia was upstate ny and my bestfriendintheworld susan went as well.  we slept in bunkbeds in cabins that had screens as windows, ate in the big cabin that was the cafeteria, took hikes, swam in the lake, did craft projects and played kickball.  on one of our hikes in the woods we passed a tepee.  i wanted a full picture of this tepee so i stepped behind a big pine tree and parted the branches so i could take an artsy picture.  one more step back and i would be able to capture the whole thing in the frame of my pocket instamatic camera.  one more step….

i fell backwards off the side of the 30′ cliff that was behind that pine tree.  i was intensely lucky though, for at the bottom of my fall was a very large pile of pine boughs.  they softened my plummet down.

it is lately that we have seen more and more accidents that happen when people are not photographing a thing but, instead, are photographing themselves.  selfies are the preferred modus operandi for instagram, snapchat, facebook, your own camera stream of memories.  but people are falling and, tragically, they are perishing in their fall.  just to get a photograph.  the ever-important picture-of-self-to-post is heart-wrenchingly disastrous. maybe there is another way?  maybe it’s not that important?  or perhaps, if it really is that important, you could have eye contact with another person and ask that person to please take a picture?

there was a story recently that made me shake my head in utter amazement.  residents of a town in russia were flocking to a toxic artificial lake which had turned turquoise because of chemicals from a coal-generated power station.  they are hiring photographers, staging photo shoots, getting IN this water that is – knowingly- ridiculously harmful to the skin, all because it and its turquoise hue will make a good picture.  it’s a dumping ground!  what are they thinking??  i stood there, after reading the story aloud to d, shook my head and said, “it’s a strangely narcissistic world, isn’t it?”

i worry.  and, beyond a selfie-craze, i hope that there is a sharp turn away from the dominant narcissism that seems widely accepted these days.  if the point of all this – the world – was about any single one of us, i suspect there would be only ONE of us.  instead, i believe that the point of all this – the world – is about ALL of us.  it’s not just one, at any cost.  it’s all.  i’m hoping the cost of that – ALL of us remembering that it IS – indeed – all of us – doesn’t destroy us.  it’s a toxic lake.  we need to see it for what it is.

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

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the wisdom of lester. [merely a thought monday]

i'm trending copy

we have found that little bits of wisdom are all around us.  we were on the train to chicago when we encountered a wise man named lester.  he seemed a gentle soul, a big man with soft eyes, he was sitting across the aisle from us.  he talked to us about his life, about life in general. he had had a long day already, commuting by numerous trains in a circuitous route to go to a job interview; he wanted to make some changes and the interview he had been to was part of that.

he told us of a relationship he was in – nothing that was all that serious – but there was this woman….  the thing that stuck with us was his comment that in the morning as he awoke with her, she was on her phone….scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.  the early sun bright in the room, this lovely man by her side, she was endlessly looking on various social media platforms for what was trending.  “put down your phone,” he pleaded to the side of her that had forgotten he was even there.  “i’m trending.”

we’ve talked about presence before.  we’ve talked about being in the moment and not missing it.  we’ve talked about gratitude and time together.  we’ve talked about how fleeting time really is.  we’ve talked about relationship and listening and appreciating the place you are, the minute you are in.  and yet, in six words, lester said it better – “put down your phone.  i’m trending.”  wisdom indeed.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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