reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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in the may apple village. [two artists tuesday]

once upon a time in the middle of the forest there was a may apple village. canopies of verdant green umbrella-ed a world of little tiny beings living little tiny lives. the village went on and on, deep into the trees. if you got right down on the ground and looked underneath all those canopies you would be amazed at what you saw, er, imagined. the village doesn’t last long. it appears and then disappears, showcasing short-lived flowers blooming and then going dormant in the summer. and the little tiny beings move on.

it is in my nature to try and make people laugh. i want to hear them giggle, guffaw, snort. i want to see cheer on their faces and to know they are amused by some self-deprecating thing i said or some story i told or some weird-action-that-would-instantly-embarrass-my-kids thing i did. i am not afraid to talk for my dog, skip in the airport, talk to strangers in elevators or subways or grocery lines, or make up loud songs-with-his-name i would sing to my cat. the reason i adore rehearsals is the chance to see people, in community, laughing. it’s never about perfection. it’s always about joy.

and so it was pretty darn weird to be on an interview call recently during which … no one laughed. i was stunned by this. i could not elicit one snicker, not even a draw-breath-in-breathe-out-a-soft-‘haha’. it concerned me. after six decades on the planet, i understand seriousness, job dedication, commitment to work. after six decades on the planet, i also understand the best way to get things done is in joy. the big picture. short-lived flowers.

the little tiny may apple village was bustling the other day in the woods. i could see tiny bistro tables and chairs, tiny beings milling about laughing and getting things done. the community was aware of all the work it had to do in the short period of time the encampment – and they – would be there. they were not overwhelmed; they were not undone. they realized that they were each spokes in relationship in the big-picture-wheel.

and they – these tiny beings under their awning-of-green – realized that their mirth was the thing that held the leaf-canopies open and kept things in motion, that kept them sharing and working with each other, through the burdens and the successes, that kept them from being divided and, instead, made them a community of inclusion, exuberant and productive, making their tiny mark.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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snowcake and lemonade. [d.r. thursday]

david, wearing his birthday tiara, waiting to have birthday cake

he said that he stood at the back door and thought, “i’m going to like this time of life best.” out the door, surfing through piles and piles of snow, dogdog ran the yard, bowing to the snow and snacking on it, his chin and face covered. a snowglobe day, david stood and watched our dog in his glee while the coffee brewed. moments later, he brought a steaming mug of strong black coffee to me, lounging in my flannel pjs in bed, sleepy eyes and a warm cat by my side. we clinked mugs and sipped while we talked of birthdays and time.

our day was simple. we ate, we wrote, we ate again. dogdog and babycat were by our sides, not eager to be anywhere else on this frigid day. negative temperatures in the minus-twenties weren’t at all encouraging for hikes outside, or even walks, and i made a mental note to start asking around about a treadmill. we unwrapped a winter-scene jigsaw that had been in the hall closet for years, called people, answered texts, opened a surprise gift that arrived on our frozen doorstep and puzzled at the dining room table. a late dinner and a couple of glasses of red and dogdog was begging to go sleepynightnight. he led the way to the end of the day, a valentine’s-day-birthday, a day of marveling at how dear people are, how fast time goes, how vested we are in adjectives like ‘peaceful’ and ‘promising’ and ‘content’ to describe our next. ‘euphoric’ and ‘carefree’ would be lovely too; so many adjectives, so little time.

on the deck right out the sunroom window, the wrought iron table and chairs were laden with the accumulation of days of snow. i could not help but see the round snowpile on the table as a giant birthday cake; i could not help but see the snow-shape in the chair as a little alien snowman, waiting patiently for a piece of cake. it was just too tempting and david was out front shoveling. with a couple silver christmas balls, a tiara found upstairs in my girl’s room, a tall white taper and some vintage pink-plastic-cake-numbers-that-hold-tiny-birthday-candles, i made myself laugh. sinking well over my knees in snow as i inadvertently stepped off the side of the deck into a drift, i collapsed into the snow, cracking up, just too excited for david to come around the corner of the house, shovel in hand. lemonade, i thought. this is lemonade.

and that, i believe, is what he meant by, “i’m going to like this time best.” a time when you know that lemonade – and the making of it with or without lemons – is most rewarding.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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better humans. [two artists tuesday]

one of my sweet momma’s favorite stories to tell me, about me, was when i used to stand in place and bellylaugh. she said i would put my tiny hands up in the air and then deeply bend at the waist and bring my hands down, up, down, repeating over and again, all while laughing heartily. it made everyone nearby laugh, hearts-open. it made her giggle to tell me this old story. and each time she told it i felt deeply loved.

i remember my first baby’s – The Girl’s – bellylaugh. it was extraordinary hearing this wee child, knowing little about the world, laugh. it felt like the same miracle when it was my second baby’s – The Boy’s – turn to chortle with all his little body. their giggles made everything in the moment alright. they are deeply loved and their giggles still to this day make everything in the moment alright.

so perhaps that’s a good place to start in the quest to be better humans. perhaps bellylaughing first about the sheer unlikeliness, the improbability, that you get to live this very instant, in this very place, at this very time. nevermind the division, the hostility, the challenges, the histrionics of forces-human-designed. you are here. i am here. no matter how same we are, no matter how different we are. we are in this together. that’s a start. now commence betterment.

“so, i wanna laugh while the laughin’ is easy. i wanna cry if it makes it worthwhile. we may never pass this way again. that’s why i want it with you.” (seals & crofts)

he spoke about humans today. how it all really boils down to a measure of how we live in community that is the important stuff. the never-pass-this-way-again moment-after-moment-ness of how we help each other, hold each other, support each other, raise each other up, love each other, regardless of the each or the other.

momma loved the verse “i shall pass through this world but once. any good, therefore, that i can do or any kindness that i can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. let me not defer or neglect it, for i shall not pass this way again.”

maybe the beginning of being better humans is that simple. let’s share this moment. let’s be amazed we are in it together. let’s be amazed we are in it at all. let’s learn how to be in community together. even in the hardest stuff. it’s a worthy exercise to see two people or two disparate groups defuse a hot and angry moment communicating with humor, to temper down with a lightness of spirit, to divert what could divide them forever, instead focusing on how to move forward with generous hearts.

maybe “let me drown in your laughter” (john denver) is a good start. maybe love will take shape in the pause of anger overtaken by a wave of kindness and gentle temperament, an intentional defusing of heat. maybe then grace will flow in like the tide of change. maybe then we can recognize what we have been, what we are, where we want to go, who we want to become – together. mindfully knowing “we all do better when we all do better.” (paul wellstone) maybe then we can – together – have the real conversations, sob the gut-wrenching and worthwhile cries, see our human failings. and we can take a tiny baby step toward being better humans.

yesterday a small peaceful protest drove and walked by our house. we live on a street perpendicular to the more important streets, the more likely avenues for protest. yet, right in front of us, right in front of our house, was this marvelous group of people marching and driving, chanting and beeping. we stood and clapped, joining their enthusiasm, echoing their pleas, and couldn’t have been more proud to see them go by. and we laughed in those moments of living, joining, hearts-open. not bellylaughs, but audible smiles, exulting in the baby steps, right here, right now.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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laugh. [k.s. friday]

creativity is not always a serious thing.  songwriting isn’t always serious.  today we offer you the attempt we made on washington island to record our brilliant and profound song SITTING HERE IN THE SUN.  we understand, with 7 takes, if you can’t bear to watch it all.  and we understand if you are underwhelmed by the song (not to mention the angle of video recording) – when you finally get there.  but right now – at the very beginning of a new year and a new decade – we are thinking maybe the laughter is the most important song of all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jaunt over to DAVID’S blogsite to see if he added anything esoteric to my meanderings

for real recordings, go to iTUNES: kerri sherwood here

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

 


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rug. [two artists tuesday]

the rug

once upon a time, a geometric rug found its way onto our doorstep.  it was carried in and put in the dining room, where all rolled-up geometric rugs go.  it was The Boy’s rug and it would wait for The Boy to come get it.  Rug waited and waited.  until one day, The Boy came.  Rug got excited.  it knew it was going to go with The Boy and be his Rug.  but The Boy gathered all the other large boxes in the dining room, which had become a holding ground for deliveries, and Rug heard him start his car and drive away.  Rug panicked, thinking perhaps he had done something wrong, perhaps he wasn’t wanted.  and so he sat, sad and alone, the only delivery left in the dining room, all rolled up and despondent.

until one day when we came home from the island.  we walked in, carrying boxes and bins, unloading them in, of course, the dining room.  there, leaning up against the cabinet, was Rug.  sorrowful, lonely, dejected, left-behind Rug.  i looked at the label on Rug and saw that it belonged to The Boy and so i assured Rug that we would bring him home.

like all other weird things we seem to get ourselves involved in, we decided to take the train to deliver Rug to The Boy.  we could have driven directly to his door in the big city, but for reasons hard to comprehend, we picked up Rug and carried him onto the train.  all three of us disembarked from the train and Rug and i looked at the gps on my phone.  a beautiful day, it was only 2 miles to walk to the front door of The Boy’s place.  and so, off we went.  happily scampering down the sunny sidewalks of the city, a big triangle grin on Rug’s face as he anticipated his new home.  we took Rug into a grocery store and rode up and down on an escalator, adventuring together.  back on the street, people gawked at us walking with Rug, for it is clearly not often enough that people take rugs for a walk.  when at last we got there, The Boy carefully unpackaged Rug and laid him on the floor, next to the new couch and under the new coffee table.  we left Rug to uncurl and went to lunch.

in the pouring rain, walking the two miles back to the train, we talked about our next adventure.  and we hoped that Rug was adjusting well.

PLEASE read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

laughing website box


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play. [two artists tuesday]

hand shadow.jpg

we sat on schoolhouse beach, in the middle of the (figurative) storm around us, and made shadow puppets.  giggling, we fell back on the rocks, the healing beginning.

when i think back over the last decade or so, i am struck by how many things my menopausal brain can’t remember.  even though today, in a little shop, abba’s song Fernando came on and i sang along to every word, the last time i heard this song maybe 4 or 5 years ago….maybe, but i can’t recollect.

the things i remember over the years are the things that stood out.  moments of despair, of loss.  moments of confusion, of great pain as i sorted them out.  times of many tears.  times my stomach and the sides of my face hurt from laughing so hard.  times of hard work.  even more importantly, times of play.  ralph waldo emerson said, “it is a happy talent to know how to play.”

even in the midst of everything else, we must remember to play.  for that will carry us far.  further than grief will.  further than withstanding searing pain.  further than the sobs that make you lay on the kitchen floor.  further than hard work.

for in play comes laughter.  and in laughter, the release of great love.  love is everlasting.  it is patient and kind.  it does not envy or boast.  it is not proud.  it does not dishonor others nor is it self-seeking.  it is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs.  love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  it protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres.  love never fails.(I Corinthians 13)

so.  play.  and love.  together, those -in the rest of life-  will endure anything.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

schoolhouse beach k&d website box


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the storage unit. [two artists tuesday]

storage unit copy

on my nightstand next to the bed are two frames.  both written in little-kid-writing, they are notes i saved from long ago.  one is from My Girl and it reads, “goodnight mom” surrounded by hearts.  the other is from My Boy and it has two words on it, “craig” (with a backwards g) and “mom” and has hearts filling up the rest of the notepaper.  each night i see these as i wish them both, from far away, goodnight, sweet dreams, restful sleep.

i come by this threadiness honestly.

we were in florida visiting; two of the days we were there, despite bright sunlight and temperatures in the 80s, we spent in a storage unit.  what was left of my parents’ belongings was packed in boxes, stacked in a unit, waiting for us to put our eyes on all of it and decide what to do with each of these things.  my mom’s impulse was to keep things, especially paper.  photographs and slides aside, there were files and files – some of which we will wade through later.  there were boxes of mugs and baskets and trinkets, a kaleidoscope of the pieces of life, carefully packed by my sister and brother-in-law during a time of sadness, a time that was not ripe with paring down or organizing, a time that is difficult for anyone who has packed up a house. larger items were already distributed – furniture given away or passed down to the next generation.  but these boxes….

i was quite sure that, even if i hadn’t seen anything in any of the boxes, i had all i needed….my treasures of my sweet momma and my poppo are tucked in close to my heart and i have physical memories of them around me in our home.  they are not the high-priced treasures you might think people would save or claim.  instead, they are small, meaningful, invaluable and thready things that speak to me.  old calendars of my mom’s, my dad’s small rickety wooden boxes from his workbench, glasses from which my dad sipped his scotch, a flannel shirt my mom wore that matched my dad’s, a board with hooks that is wood-burned with the word “keys” and hung in our growing-up house for as long as i can remember…

spending time in the storage unit, surrounded by memories and the fading scent of my mom’s perfume and their house, i was heartened to see that i actually could go through and pare down.  it gives me hope about our own basement.  the real things of our past – sweet treasured memories – are not things.  everyone gets meaning from and sees value in different stuff.  two days in the storage unit reminded me again of that.

this time i didn’t cry.  i laughed with my momma, who, no doubt, was rolling her eyes in heaven over the fact that she had saved sooo many pieces of paper…paid bills, old house contracts, warranties from appliances long gone, car receipts from several cars ago.  a collection of life gone by, i know she smiled when every now and then we stumbled onto something i loved to touch….i kept the little scrap of paper that fluttered to the floor that my mom had written my full birth name on…i kept a couple calendars with my poppo’s handwriting…i kept a tiny folder of maps my mom collected in her curiosity about the changing world…i kept my dad’s brown suede cap, the one i bought him a million years ago…i kept a manila folder of letters i had written to them over the years – that my momma saved…these pieces of evidence of who they were, heirlooms of what was most important to them.

i vowed, once again, to go through, give away, sell the things in our own home that are not necessary.  but those bins in the basement labeled “kirsten” and “craig”?  those will stay.  i will delight in going through the artwork and stories and notes and school projects from their childhood and growing up.  and some day, maybe they too will see how infinitely important each of the baby steps and adult steps they have taken are to me.  and maybe some of the thready treasures i have left behind will give them pause and, maybe, they will save a scrap or two, a calendar, a notebook of unpublished songs, photographs, something that reminds them of what was most important to me – the thready things that are memories of love, of family, of them.

it wasn’t sunny or 82 degrees inside the storage unit.  but it was warm in a whole other way.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

mommaandpoppo deer ridge website box

 


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loop. [merely-a-thought monday]

loop copy

i went back to take this picture.  i’m not quite sure why, but the word “loop” on the steps struck me as funny.  truth be told, it was a piece of information; on the metra steps in chicago it was directing us to the train that would take us toward the loop.

there was this time we visited My Boy in chicago.  we took the train down, got off at the ravenswood stop, and walked what seemed-like-miles dragging a rollie-bag behind us with all the ingredients for pasta and homemade sauce.  after a fun day together, we dragged our now-empty suitcase back to the train and waited on the platform for the train home, unwittingly sitting on the wrong side of the platform.  it was a mere two minutes before the train came that we realized our error and ran down the stairs, down the sidewalk, across the street against the traffic light and back up the other set of stairs to the right platform.  it was comical, i’m sure.  we couldn’t even pretend to be cool-calm-collected-experienced-aloofly-confident passengers.  we were total geeks, running for the train, laughing.  i’m sure there were signs (we saw them our next trip down) but we hadn’t noticed.  and so, the word “loop” on the steps made me laugh.  “northbound” on the steps would have helped.

music-in-its-written-form is kind of like this.  there are directions all over the place:  repeat signs, time signatures, words like coda, DC al fine, DS.  it’s a confusing mess for the newbie.  our ukulele band navigates this all the time now; we use lead sheets in lieu of just chord-and-lyric sheets.  we cheer each time we end the song at the same place and at the same time.  for the seasoned musician, these directions are run-of-the-mill; for the music editor, these directions save a lot of space and paper.  for the ukulele band, which now pays attention to these bits of directive material, it’s like writing “loop” on the steps.

it’s all just one big lesson in following directions, isn’t it?  i guess the key is laughter.

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

roger's park feet website box copy

 

 

 


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babycat in a box. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

babycat in a box copy

remember when you carefully wrapped your toddler’s presents, expecting their absolute glee when he or she opened the gift?  and then, moments after the gift was opened, with wrappings and gift cast aside, you found them ecstatically playing with the box the gift came in?  well, welcome to babycatworld.

b-cat has lots of toys.  we struggle with keeping dogdog from devouring them.  we gave him fun new things for christmas, but he doesn’t seem all that interested.  however, the moment we put a carry-your-stuff-out-box we used at costco on the floor in the kitchen, babycat decided it was his.  no matter where we move it, he sits in it.  he has claimed it; it is his safe spot.  it would be impossible for him to lay down in it; his hulking “big-boned” body dwarfs the box.  but sitting in it seems to suffice for him.  i guess everyone/every creature has their special spot.  so for now, this crest box has become a part of our home.

i might add that it doesn’t match our decor in any way.   i’m wondering if he would still sit in it if we spray-painted it black…

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

chicago market dec 2018 website box


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park next to the potato. [two artists tuesday]

one potato copy

it’s not every day you pull into a parking lot and park next to a potato.  even at church.  we never considered parking in the same spot as the potato.  it was clear that spot was taken.  and as two artists living in this world together, we don’t question things like that.  we parked in the next spot over.  i mean, every potato deserves a little respect.

two potato copy.JPG

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

onthecapecloseup website box