reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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ten thousand wishes. [two artists tuesday]

“it is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world.” (mary oliver)

really, truly exquisite. the last few mornings have been exquisite. we woke up early-early on saturday and sunday morning, nowhere to be, sat and sipped coffee and listened to the quiet world outside. our impulse was to be home, to read together, to write, to go slow, to exercise in the basement, to sit on the deck and watch the birds, the squirrels and the chipmunks, to cook good meals. we felt no need to go anywhere. instead, feeling the sun and breathing in a cool breeze, we reveled in the staying-here.

as headlines point out, the pandemic is heating up. again. the prediction that there will be 300,000 diagnosed daily in mid-august is stunning. so much sickness, so much loss. we feel fortunate to be vaccinated and we are dedicated to continued safe practices. we want at least ten thousand more exquisite mornings, at least ten thousand more days, ten thousand more sleeps. to sacrifice now, we feel, is to bestow upon ourselves a chance at those ten thousand wishes. it IS a serious thing just to be alive. and, even in moments of taking it for granted, we don’t take it for granted.

if i could find a four-leaf clover or blow the puffball off a dandelion or spot a shooting star or spy a haywagon from the back, i would issue a hope for each of us to recognize the gloriousness of this very day, each very-day. to stand in responsibility for each other and to seriously choose to mend the tiniest piece of this broken world for the rest. to stitch together the biggest quilt honoring the inhabitants of this good earth, each thread an acknowledgement of gratitude, each piece of fabric a choice to take care of each other, to live in community the best we can, to do everything possible to keep each other healthy.

just to be alive in this broken world takes some chutzpah. sacrificing for the whole takes some humility. bowing to safety guidelines in a pandemic takes some love.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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in KC’s family. [two artists tuesday]

just past the eyelash phase, in a tightly woven and protected calyx of green sepals (leaves), the gardenia bonsai flower waits. a little research reveals that it will take about two months of growing to reach the point of a cracked bud, hopefully flowering after. KC is reportedly “one of the most loved and challenging plants in the bonsai world” and i hope that i am up to the task. these beautiful and somewhat-difficult-to-grow plants offer “a unique opportunity for anyone who wishes to take the time to attend to their needs.” they are particular about sunlight, particular about direction of window exposure, particular about temperature, particular about humidity, particular about watering, particular about feeding with fertilizer, particular about shape and pruning, particular about training, particular about insects and mold, particular about repotting, particular about touch. they do well without any negative stressful environmental factors. it occurs to me that perhaps i am in the bonsai gardenia family.

KC sits together with some other lower-maintenance plants (read: succulents you can’t really mess up) and is clearly different than them. its leaves are rich in color, two whorls protecting promising buds, and its presence demands to be noticed. i talk to it every day, encouraging it, paying attention, hoping i am tending to it properly. i truly cherish this little bonsai; my beloved daughter and her boyfriend sent it to me for my birthday and it was a joyous and glittering moment to receive such a beautiful gift. i want to do my best helping this little gardenia along. and, in light of the last year, the last couple years, i can understand and relate to its eccentricities. mmm, can’t we all?

in the evening KC is bathed in the sparkle of the sunroom’s happy lights. proudly in the spot it has claimed on the table, it sits, basking. it is one of the sparkles of the year. there have been many, despite the difficulties, within the difficulties, despite the challenges, within the challenges, despite these times, within these times. if it were possible, i would set each around us in the sunroom, also bathed in happy lights, like laundry clothespinned to a clothesline, reminding us of the best times, the memorable times, the happiest snapshots, the most poignant moments, the yin-yang of relationships, reassuring love in trying-to-stay-centered, the times we balanced stress and the times we succumbed to it, successful and unsuccessful zen, and exhausted times of rest.

i would place the clothesline in the middle of the room so that you could not help but see each item, each old wooden clothespin, memory-laundry crowded onto a timeline, reminding us that the minute does not stay. that whether the minute is feverish or beauty-laden, it moves on.

we are all particular; we are all particularly needy. our lists and our baggage surpass that of the little bonsai gardenia. we are all up to the task. we do our best in each moment, whether it is dark or sparkling. and we remember we can try again. we can help each other; we are “most loved and challenging”. KC already knows that.

i am excited to see KC bloom. i wait patiently for this amazing flower to arrive. in the meantime, i light the white gardenia candle, talk to my plant and drink in the glow of the happy lights, trying. each day. living just past the eyelash phase.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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this part of the journey. exclamation mark. [k.s. friday]

tpotj song box.jpg

today my sweet momma would be 98.

she was born in 1921 and saw everything change around her. she stood in a world that saw the great depression, world war II, telephones and cars, movies, televisions and news shows reporting on more wars than she could wrap her head around. her husband was missing in action and then a POW shot down over bulgaria, all while she was expecting a baby. she gave birth to their first child while my poppo was still a POW and stood in faith that he would return as that little girl died.

momma built a life with my dad, all the while navigating veteran-ptsd that hadn’t yet been labeled. but she figured it out. she held her ground, both supportive and snapping to action or to “words” as she would call arguments between them.

my sweet momma wore stockings and pumps “to business” and had housecoats with snaps, long flowing mumus and finally, at long last, blue jeans and keds for relaxing. momma drove a mean stick shift and, because they were a one-car family for the longest time, walked to the king kullen and dairy barn for groceries and milk. she turned her very green thumb over to my dad after he retired, likely to keep him out of her hair for a bit of time.

she volunteered as the girl scout president and in aarp alongside my dad. she loved wood and glass; she loved to paint with oils. she loved lists and calendars and math and writing and doing the laundry any time she was stressed. she wrote old-fashioned letters with pen and paper. she adored her word processor and then the computer and finally, her beloved iphone. anything to stay in touch. she texted, she called, she facebooked, she mistakenly took pictures of the ceiling and sent them on errant trips out to the ethers. momma loved to coffee sit and have english muffins or crumb cake or danish or chocolate chip cookies or pie. and she made extra homemade french fries every time she knew I was visiting so we could sit, drink iced tea, eat cold french fries and talk.

she didn’t let fear overtake her. she was strong in every way. she credited being from new york, but i credit just her – she just went with the flow and sort of ignored anything that got in the way, including any physical challenge that presented itself. two days after a double mastectomy at 93 she sat on the side of the hospital bed and, in good humor, sassed everyone around.

she loved that everyone called her beaky. and i mean everyone.

her journey was long, her experiences rich. she was an exclamation mark in life. she celebrated people and love and moments and I miss her.  so much.

but it is part of my journey to miss her.

each of us bring to our journey our own punctuation. sometimes i think i am an ellipsis, but i realize that applies to all of us. we go on…

if i got to choose what singular punctuation i would want to be, i would want to be an exclamation mark, just like my sweet momma. for this part of my journey. for every part of the journey.

download THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

momma, d & k website box

THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1998, 2000 kerri sherwood


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#TheMicaList [not-so-flawed wednesday]

we are all visitors copy

dear Life,

my sweet momma would often call me just as the time i was born would pass on my birthday. at the end of her life she didn’t do this anymore but i always remembered anyway. mid-morning i would know that this was the moment i arrived at this place, this was the beginning of my passing through, the time of my visiting.

today, this very morning, it was 60 years ago that i joined the rest of this good earth on its journey around the sun. spinning, spinning. every day.

it wasn’t long till i realized – as an adult – that we spin our wheels constantly to get to some unknown place we can’t necessarily define or find. we search and spin faster, out of mission, out of passion, out of frustration, loss, a feeling of no value or a sense of lostness. we spin. we seek. we try to accomplish. we try to make our mark. we try to finish. we try to start. we leave scarred rubber skids of emotions on the road behind us; we burn out with abrupt, unexpected turns, we break, wearing out. spinning. spinning. from one thing to another, our schedules full of busy things to do. often, days a repetition of the previous day. every day full. full of spinning. but we are still seeking. life is sometimes what we expected.  life is sometimes not what we expected. and that makes us spin faster, our core dizzying with exhaustion.

the simplest gifts – the air, clear cool water to drink, the mountaintop exhilaration of parenthood, hand-holding love, the ephemeral seconds of self-actualizing accomplishment, the sun on our faces…we have images stored in our mind’s eye like photographs in an old-fashioned slide show, at any time ready for us to ponder. but often-times we fail to linger in these exquisite simplicities. the next thing calls.

this morning, as i stare at 60 – which, as i have mentioned, is kind of a significant number for me – i realize that everything i write about or compose about or talk about or hold close in my heart is about these simplest things, the pared-down stuff, the old boots on the trail – not fancy but steadfast, not brand new but muddied up with real. in our day-to-day-ness i/we don’t always see IT.  the one thing. there is something -truly- that stands out each day in those sedimentary layers of our lives.   it is the thing that makes the rest of the day pale in comparison. in all its simple glory, the one true moment that makes us realize that we are living, breathing, ever-full in our spinning world. the thing that connects us to the world. the shiny thing. the mica. that tiny irregular piece of glittering mica in the layers and veneers of life. the thing to hold onto with all our might.

that tiny glitter of mica. mica nestles itself within a bigger rock, a somewhat plain rock – igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary ordinariness. not pinnacle, it is found within the bigger context. sometimes harder to find, harder to notice, but there.  and it makes the day our day, different than any other. it is the reason we have learned or grown that day. it is the reason we have laughed that day. it is the reason we have picked ourselves up off the floor that day. it is the reason we have breathed that day.

and now, at 60, i resolve to see, to collect those pieces of glitter. not in an old wooden box or a beat-up vintage suitcase, but, simply, since they are moments in time, in a tiny notebook or on my calendar. join me in #TheMicaList if you wish. as we wander and wonder through it is our job, in our very best interest, to notice the finest shimmering dust, the mica in the rock, the glitter in our world.

with all the reminders around us to remember-remember-remember that every day counts, we get lost in our own spinning stories, narratives of many strata. i know that in the midnight of the days i look back on the hours of light and darkness in which i moved about and remember one moment – one moment – be it a fleetingly brief, elusive, often evanescent moment of purity, the tiniest snippet of conversation, belly-laugh humor, raw learning, naked truth, intense love – those are the days i know – i remember – i am alive.

my visit to this physical place is not limitless. but each glitter of mica is a star in a limitless sky of glitter, a milky way of the times that make me uniquely me and you uniquely you, a stockpile of priceless relics. my time stretches back and stretches ahead, a floating silken thread of shiny. it’s all a mysterious journey.

and i am grateful.

kerri

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no one can really tell us. [d.r. thursday]

no one can tell us copy

NO ONE CAN TELL US mixed media 24″ x 32″

“…no one can tell us because life is not something which can be understood from a book…” (krishnamurti)

when my big brother died almost 27 years ago, my world tilted, never to return to the same again.  i struggled to understand that this amazingly smart, talented, witty man – someone i depended on my whole life – was no longer going to be in this world.  losing him left me with a lot of questions.

ever since then i have not been able to wrap my head around how the world keeps going if you cannot feel it anymore.  and yet, each loss i have experienced is evidence that is exactly what happens.  the world keeps going. it’s all a mystery.  no one can really tell us.

there is no handbook available to explain all this.  life’s complicated layers and sideroads, the junctures where we choose left or right, the places we decide to stop or go…it’s all a mystery.  no one can really tell us.

nearly every day there is some world-tilting reminder to wholeheartedly embrace the moment you are in; nearly every day we forget.  it’s not as easy as just remembering.  it’s not easily understood.  your shoes are not my shoes and, although it is easy for me to sense all the concurrent emotions in a room, i still cannot grasp what you are actually going through.  my sun could be your rain.  it’s all a mystery.  no one can really tell us.

so we try.  we try to understand, without instruction, the strands and tattered fragments and shiny-mica-bits that weave together into life.  mostly, we keep feeling life.  and the world keeps going.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this D.R. THURSDAY

to view NO ONE CAN TELL US on DAVID’s gallery site, click here

snowpath in bristolwoods website box

NO ONE CAN TELL US ©️ 2015 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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those petals. [d.r. thursday]

palm tree copy

PALM TREE – a morsel of TANGO WITH ME

often, david has a signature in his paintings.  not his initials or his name, but these petals…they bring an element of the organic into a piece that may not speak to nature in any other way.  they are a breath, sneaking their way into a painting to remind you that your relationship with this very canvas is a living, changing, ever-evolving thing.  the gift of art in its every form: we grow by it, through it, with it.

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TANGO WITH ME mixed media 39″ x 52″

read DAVID’S thoughts about this D.R. THURSDAY

drc website header

cheers! shopping in chicago website box

TANGO WITH ME/PALM TREE ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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the sisu of balance. [d.r. thursday]

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morsel of WAITING AND KNOWING

“…you must wait patiently, knowing that you’re waiting and knowing what you’re waiting for…” (carlos castaneda)

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a balance point.  the morsel of the painting WAITING AND KNOWING doesn’t include the obvious visual balance point between waiting and knowing and not. instead it draws you into the words “wait patiently”, “know”, “promise”, ” then a time will come”.

but we all know the point.  the trust.  the blind faith.  with roots we courageously send deeply into the earth of our lives we teeter on the edge of patience and impatience, belief and unbelief, knowing and not knowing, fulfilling and not fulfilling, living and not living.

WAITING AND KNOWING – the painting – illustrates that amazing center of gravity available to us as human beings, our root a fulcrum from which we pivot in our lives, live our lives, celebrate our lives.

click here or on WAITING AND KNOWING to view this painting in the online gallery

read DAVID’S thoughts about this D.R. THURSDAY

northport harbor website box

WAITING AND KNOWING ©️ 2015 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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ponder life. [chicken marsala monday]

ponderinglife WITH EYES jpeg copymy poppo would sit in the chair and gaze out at the lake behind their house.  in the house before that, he would sit out on the lanai and gaze at the pool.  in previous houses, he had chairs or his workbench, where he would sit or stand and gaze, clearly thinking, thinking, thinking.

now, when you’ve gotten to 91, there’s plenty to think about, many memories, many stages of life, many ways the world has changed.  my poppo was a POW in world war II, escaping and coming back at a time that PTSD had little to no attention given to it.  the atrocities he had experienced were his alone to process, with the help of my sweet momma, if he felt that he could burden her with it.  my parents lost a child, a little girl named barbara lynn, who would be my oldest sister – even older than my sister sharyn! – while my dad was still missing in action, a little person, a part of him, he never met.  i know that as they established themselves as a family, there were challenges that befell them, joys that they cherished, times of much sorrow, small moments and large moments of laughter and goodness.  plenty to think about.

i always wondered what my poppo was thinking about, quietly sitting or puttering.  sometimes i would ask, but other times i would respect his quiet-ness. now that i am getting older, i find myself spending time quietly thinking.  memories, moments, decisions, good things, sad things, questions, things that make me cringe, things that make me laugh aloud.  i think about what’s coming up…what is planned, what will remain a mystery. i wonder.  i give thanks.  i pray.  pondering is a good thing.  it’s necessary.

each time now when i sit outside or inside curled in a chair and find myself just staring off into space, i can’t help but think about my daddy.  and i kind of feel him right there, quietly staring with me. pondering.

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read DAVID’S thoughts about this CHICKEN NUGGET

CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR SITE

pondering life is a very useful thing to do. ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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in a split second. [k.s. friday]

inasplitsecond SONG BOX

over and over and over we are reminded.  every second counts.  it even gets trite sometimes.  but then, once again, something makes time come crashing to a halt, where everything moves in slow motion and we are crushed with the inevitability of a change we didn’t anticipate, plan for, dream of or, even, want.

i wrote this song when heidi told me about waiting for the results of her mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy.  she spoke of the moment her doctor called; she asked him to hold on and she walked to the mirror to look at herself before her whole life changed.  THOSE WORDS impacted me enormously.  i couldn’t get the vision out of my mind and wrote this for her.  we went on to use this song when we performed (heidi – breast cancer survivor and inspirational speaker, me – writing songs and music to wrap through and around the events) as part of cancer survivor celebrations, walks, runs, hospital and pharmaceutical recognitions, susan g komen foundation, y-me breast cancer organization, american cancer society, gilda radner’s gilda club, young survival coalition, the san antonio breast cancer symposium, bristol-myers squibb tour of hope, living beyond breast cancer…

but this song goes beyond cancer survivorship.  time can change and our lives can turn in more ways than we care to think about.  there are many challenges, in many categories.  the older i get, the more i see it.

on our roadtrip through the i-can’t-get-enough-of-it rocky mountains and intensely beautiful southwest, we talked about one second moving into the next.  (don’t worry – lots of time we talk about things like twizzlers or our obsession with mission chips or we talk the scion into going up steep mountains.)  and we talked about how, no matter what happens in a moment, it would be in our very best interest to linger in each one and then move into the next moment without carrying the stuff of the previous one. “it’s all new,” we agreed.

each individual moment counts.  each one is different.  yes, each one…each moment…trite as it sounds…is a gift.

download IN A SPLIT SECOND – track 11 on AS SURE AS THE SUN on iTUNES and CDBaby

or purchase the physical CD AS SURE AS THE SUN on www.kerrisherwood.com

read DAVID’S thoughts on IN A SPLIT SECOND

IN A SPLIT SECOND from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood

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army green converse sneakers.

we took the train there. it was a glorious day and we had left extra time to walk around the little town, explore a bit, sit, have a glass of wine. the sun was warm and we were looking forward to hearing an author speak, one i have respected for many years. joyce maynard was at the book stall in winnetka, sharing wisdoms and her newest book, a memoir titled the best of us. IMG_0025

the sun warmed us on this early fall day as we sat and sipped, waiting for the time of the reading to begin. i told david stories about reading joyce’s work, way back even before the time when I lived in little bitty hillsboro, new hampshire and, from a short distance away, she wrote a column called domestic affairs. she has had impact on me for many a year and i was happy to be able to tell her that in person.

we haven’t started reading her new book yet. she inscribed it to us, “with the hope that our story inspires your own.” the best of us is a profound story of love and loss and growth and embracing Living.  joyce was honest and candid. she read sections of the book aloud. she shared real moments that were both excruciatingly painful and infinitely life-full. and she wore awesome army green converse sneakers.

seeing joyce was multi-layered for me, as it is whenever we attend openings or readings or concerts…as an artist it always makes me think about where i have been, where i am, where i am going. it was lovely to meet such a prolific author, inspiring to hear her words about her book. but mostly? mostly it made me want to write more, share more. words. lyrics. music. paintings. our new two-person play. medium doesn’t matter. it’s a spur that i could feel – deep inside.

as an artist couple, our spectrum of emotions is pretty wide. sometimes maybe too wide (yes, it’s ok to laugh here.) but as an artist couple we both feel the spur and we join hands and jump into the next thing.

…but not until after i order a pair of army green converse sneakers.

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my treasured pink hand-me-downs from the girl