reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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a mixed bag. [d.r. thursday]

$6.99. for ten. that’s not cheap. and i have often wondered why they are not included as a perk for city taxes or the utilities and waste pickup. i always – really always – print out the coupon for $2.00 off and have them in my purse every fall. but even then, $4.99 is still not inexpensive.

the other day we stood in the grocery store in front of the biobag display and had a few terse words. i didn’t have any printed coupons in my purse and he-who-shall-remain-nameless-in-this-story wanted to buy a couple boxes. everything inside me railed against buying them without the coupons. i even said that i would go back – after i downloaded the coupon page and then went to the officemax to print them (since our printer was on the fritz). he said my time was worth more than that. i wondered – again – why, if kenosha is providing a link for the coupons on their city site for anyone and everyone, the stores don’t just discount them at point of purchase. it seems like a ridiculous exercise in wasted paper, a little bit of irony – especially when the reason to purchase them is to be environmentally mindful. seems a little plastic if you ask me. to let you off the waiting-with-bated-breath hook, we bought the biobags – two boxes – and i tried to forget that we paid full price.

while i recognize the absolute need for biobags – and the ability for them to disintegrate – i wonder how all people can afford them. they simply cannot purchase boxes and boxes of biodegradable biobags in lieu of food or in lieu of paying the mortgage or rent or gas for the car to get to their job or the WE energies bill. there has to be a way for everyone to have access without breaking the bank. i can tell you that there were many times we stood in the store and had to think about whether or not to purchase them. and now, we are back there…thinking again about the cost.

the trees around us haven’t lost all their leaves yet. we will finish out the boxes of bags we have and then, i suspect, we will use those big black plastic bags and take them to the compost site out by the airport and dump the contents into huge piles. we can reuse the black bags for the next runs and the next runs. as we fall into winter we will definitely mulch some on the yard as well and rake some into the gardens for critters to take refuge and find warmth.

leaf-raking time is a funny time. it brings back a zillion memories of my poppo out front raking leaves and leaf-raking parties with hot cocoa and cookies (we had a zillion trees at my growing-up house) and, later down the road in a different time, a different state, my kiddos loving jumping in the leaves and despising raking. we love to swoosh our feet through the leaves as we walk and the scent of fallen autumn leaves is divine. we drive around the ‘hood, astounded at the sheer number of bags at the curb and try to remember how many weeks the city will pick them up. we can smell leaves burning as we drive to our favorite trail and we watch as people use those big blower devices to blow leaves into the street, passing on leaf-responsibility and encouraging their leaves to blow into their neighbors’ yards.

leaf mulchers. leaf blowers. leaf burns. leaf piles. leaf bins. leaf parties. leaf them alone.

it’s a mixed bag. yes. pun intended.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY


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a chicken and a cow in autumn. [two artists tuesday]

my nephew called. i guess technically he isn’t my nephew now but neither one of us cares about the technicality of it. we talked a couple years ago but not since. no matter. he was ironing and he thought of me. he described how ironing makes you just kind of slow down and lets your mind wander. and so he followed his instinct and dialed. i told him i was glad he wasn’t thinking of me as he was washing the floor. he agreed and said that a washing-the-floor conversation wouldn’t be as whimsical.

whimsical.

i loved how he used that word. we slowed down our hiking, shuffling our feet through the leaves on the trail, david encouraging me to chat. my nephew and i laughed and told stories, asked questions, laughed some more. later, in some text-reminiscing, he asked me if i still had the beer cap earrings he had bought me when we were together up-north many years back. he said, “you’re one of my favorites.” i walked slowly into flashes of another time of life. it was a gift.

from the deck it looks like a chicken. suddenly a chicken leaf fell from the maple tree and landed squarely on our little curlicue-fence. i stopped at the top of the steps and drew d’s attention to it. “look at the chicken back there!” i insisted. we laughed at the chicken on our fence. ok, not exactly. but imagination is a funny thing. we make castles out of refrigerator boxes and gazelles out of cumulus puffs. we create out of thin air.

“have you noticed that autumn is like a yellow cow?” (pablo neruda) “have they counted the gold in the cornfields?”

we are not alone in our imaginings. pondering leaves, clouds, swirls in the lake’s surface, rocks on the trail, i wonder what it would be to not ponder these things. i feel like i might laugh a little less, like there would be a little less whimsy.

i’m not sure how autumn is like a yellow cow, though i am sure that is valid for pablo. it’s all good. it makes the world go round with a little more pizzazz. there is gold everywhere.

right now i’m just wondering where exactly my beer cap earrings are.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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indelible. [d.r. thursday]

indelible. the way of impressionable cement, not-yet-set or after much falling rain. the new sidewalk around the corner and down the street will forever look like autumn to me. until the impression of fallen leaves fades, i will always think of fall and raking leaves and stoked bonfires in the cool night air.

indelible. the way of scent. the whiff of a beloved’s cologne or perfume and you are catapulted in time to shared space with that person. the aroma of a certain cake in the oven or simmering sauce on the stove or how rye toast makes me think both of my sweet momma and my grandmother mama dear. the way walking through even a tiny pine forest both brings back the tall pines of florida and the sparkling air of colorado high mountain forest.

indelible. the way of taste. how you know exactly what a hot chocolate chip cookie tastes just out of the oven, without having one. how you anticipate that first cup of coffee in the morning. how you roll around the werther’s caramel and other times and places flit through your mind.

indelible. the way of color. how army green makes me think of the vietnam jacket my brother-in-law gave me. or how there’s a certain red that makes me think of moab and the high desert. how rich black makes me think of my piano. how blue makes me think of one of my sweet nieces and purple makes me think of the other. how pink is now a color my sister is rocking. how black and white together make me think of our babycat.

indelible. the way of sound. the seagulls in the air make me think of home – long island beaches – the surf pulls at me. bluejays bring me immediately back to my growing-up back yard. loons and i am up-north, hanging out with the gang. the sound of john denver music and the list of images in my mind’s eye grows; his music has accompanied me near and far. the echo of a sustain pedal takes me to quiet stages and dark theatres, practicing, a concert in the offing. the train at night, likely to always make me think of laying in bed, here, at home. the foghorn, the same.

indelible. the way of touch. the sensation of petting our dogdog. of holding hands. of scuffing feet in fallen leaves. of the cold water of a stream running over my feet – instantly transported to an aspen brook, hidden way back on trail. the certain way someone hugs, the one-in-a-million dna of that hug.

indelible. the way of first impressions. we have this chance many times a day. the first impression we have on the cashier or associate at the store, the first impression we have on the person walking the other way on the sidewalk, the first impression we have with the person on the other end of the phonecall, the first impression we have with strangers and, i suppose, those close to us each new day. and more, intimately, close-in, how we start our days. the indelible way we come home. how we greet each other. with joy or abstracted, aloof.

i saw a video of a young woman, a social worker steeped in education and research, speaking about how she learned a simple lesson about relationship from her dog. each day, each and every time, she would return home and her dog would be filled with zealous and passionate happiness at seeing her. she had no doubt about its love of her and how it felt when it saw her. dogdog jumps higher than the back doorknob every time we come home, with ardent wagawag. yes. important to remember as we see our beloveds, our family, our friends. the impressions we give them.

they are indelible.

this branch of leaves will eventually fade from this sidewalk square. but i know i’ll keep remembering these leaves as we pass this spot, enduring till they are the lightest light and blend, disappearing, into the cement.

i hope that i will remember that my impression is also indelible. first impression, every impression. even as i blend into the cement.

good lessons from rye toast. good lessons from our dogs. good lessons from the leaves.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

EARTH INTERRUPTED V: 53″ X 29″

EARTH INTERRUPTED V ©️ 2018 david robinson


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apples and numbers. [k.s. friday]

it’s approaching. you can feel it in the morning air. fall. its scent lingers in the fields of wildflowers, succumbing to cooler nights, a lower sun on the horizon. the bees are desperately, frantically, trying to hang on for dear life. the mosquitoes, thankfully, are writing their wills and the cicadas are singing as if the judges of ‘american idol’ or ‘the voice’ were gathered beneath the trees, an audience of appreciators.

it’s different though.

this fall is all about numbers. covid-19 pandemic numbers. lethal-force racial fatality numbers. protest numbers. healthcare numbers. unemployment numbers. eviction numbers. payroll tax numbers. rally numbers. poll numbers. we are surrounded by a plethora of numbers with an increasingly urgent need to be aware of all of them.

there will be no relaxing inside starbucks sipping pumpkin spice lattes. there will be no apple festivals or street fairs celebrating fall. there will be no hayrides, bale-bouncing with friends on a rickety wagon. there will be no chili cook-offs or slow dance parties on the patio. this was the stuff of pre-pandemic. the stuff of the olden days. the stuff of 2019. the stuff of 1996. the stuff of 1973.

there will be thoughtfully attended protests. there will be emotional vigils. there will be testing sites. there will be virtual funerals. there will be video-conferenced schools and meetings and religious gatherings. there will be jobs sought, financial devastation for too many, unreachable healthcare. there will be speeches to listen to, about which to have hope. there will be speeches to fact-check, about which to have righteous anger.

the numbers have risen to the surface and rightfully demand our attention.

but there’s this – written one year ago: every fall, my sweet momma and my poppo would load us up in the dodge with the old wicker picnic basket and a small cooler.  we would drive out east on long island or head north into upstate new york.  the baby of the family with siblings already out of the house, i always had a friend along.  susan went everywhere with us.  we would take mad libs and gum, snacks and cans of soda and we would talk and giggle our way to the apple farm. it wasn’t like we couldn’t find apples near us; the jaunt away to apple-picking was the point.  the walk in the orchard, the drive through leaves of indescribably stunning color.  we’d stop at roadside picnic tables and take back country roads.

and now, a long while later, i think of those places, those times.  the memories are sweet, macintosh-apple-sweet.  but the yearning is real.  every autumn makes me just as wistful.  i think of my children jumping in leaves and pumpkins carved with silly faces.  my parents and the old dodge.  pies with homemade crust, hot soup and cocoa, the smell of cinnamon and caramel candles.  fires in the fireplace or outside around the firepit.  jeans, sweaters, boots.  and apples.

and so now that the time for jeans and sweaters and boots is in the offing, i need remember. there are still quiet fires in the firepit to have. there are pies we can make and cocoa we can brew up. there are big stock pots of soup to steep. there are trails with crunchy leaves. there are pumpkins to carve, sunflowers to vase, and backroads to drive.

there are things that must be done. the numbers insist. it’s a profound time filled with information and a call to speak up, to question, to research, to, yes, wear a mask and yes-yes, to vote.

but my wistful-near-autumn heart also needs apples.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

MILLNECK FALL from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood


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reminders. [two artists tuesday]

heart leaf

i stopped and went back.  i had to take this picture.  reminders are everywhere and right now, although, truly, as always,  i knew i wanted to capture as many as possible.

it feels as if we are surrounded by whirling hypocrisy.  those people who proclaim one thing and treat people in an extraordinarily different way.  i’ve been stunned into i-don’t-even-know-what-to-say-silence more than once lately.  people who demand respect but don’t give it, people who are unnecessarily controlling, people who go behind your back, people who list toward cruelty, people who declare appreciation but tear down, people who hide behind glossy words.  what is going on?  narcissism seems to be alive and well as we suffer the effects of those-who-believe-they-are-on-pedestals, pedestals that seem to exist on every step of the ladder.  it’s shocking and more than a little disconcerting.  we each have first-hand in-our-own-life experience.  what a disappointment.  we are humans capable of so much more.

and so, the reminders are incredibly welcome.  the heart leaves or rocks, the sun’s rays glowing through clouds in the sky, the presence of a cardinal or two blue jays crossing our path in the woods.  a text message or call out of the blue, beautiful generous raw-matte-finish words spoken to you.  all reminders.  a kindness extended by a stranger, an eye-contact smile.  the big initiatives, the little gestures.  not picking up the tug-of-war rope.  reaching out to offer the olive branch.  life-giving.  practicing.  we are truly capable of so much.  we need be reminded.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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