reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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in service. [d.r. thursday]

in much the same way i draw sunrises over mountains, the boardwalk turned ninety degrees on a dime, with meticulously pieced craftwork, through the swampy area and across, back to the dirt trail.

we pondered how long it took volunteers to build this boardwalk…likely out in hot summer sun, working to span the distance between solid earth trails and protect the vegetation and water below. when you are out hiking in the middle of nowhere and come upon a boardwalk or a little bridge or, remotely, a bench, it is a reminder that you are not stepping there first and you are not stepping there alone.

time and again we watch backpackers like joey coconato or the wanderwomen forge streams and rivers. we marvel as they step carefully across, deliberately placing their feet with caution. occasionally, there is an unexpected suspension bridge or a big placed-log that helps. trail magic is not just water bottles and snickers bars. it’s the work that someone has done before you. someone who really cares. in this case, early-on-in-the-hike of pink-bed-trail, those someones built this boardwalk. in service.

extreme wind had blown down many trees on our trail along the des plaines. some of them stretched across our pathway and we climbed our way over them. we know the next time out they will be moved, for this trail is well taken care of. the work of those tending it is to make hiking possible for the rest of us. in service.

the winter show will be pulled down on january 9. artists of various medium brought their work to be juried into the gallery space on the lake. they chose pieces they felt were relatable, pieces that would hang well, would absorb and reflect light as it streamed through big windows. a lot of people went to the opening, including us, with masks. and then the crowds left and the art center had regular hours through the holiday, inviting patrons in to view art and trees lit with the season. we’ll pick up the painting next week, unless there is an offer on it. the curator will breathe and design the next show. and people will have been moved by acrylic and clay, watercolor and fibre. sun will light the wood floors and curl around dark corners and artists will create at home for the next time, the next chance to elicit the silent conversation between viewer and artwork. in service.

we watched carole king and james taylor in concert sunday night. it was two hours of bliss. easily two of the most talented songwriters of all time, their camaraderie is exquisite and the music carried us both back. at one point in the airing, there was a moment that carole shared thoughts about performing. she spoke about bringing music to others as her job, and she continued that it wasn’t for herself that she writes, plays, performs. songwriters, composers, performing artists. connecting to hearts of people, challenging them, reassuring them, moving them. in service.

a bridge spanning a raging whitewater river in the middle of nowhere…is it appreciated? a boardwalk built on a trail in the middle of somewhere…does it make a difference? a cleared path…is there gratitude? a painting that hangs with no viewers…is it seen? a piece of music with no audience…does it reveal its magic?

all ready and waiting.

never really first. never really alone.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY


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all that shimmers.

i walk downstairs to his studio often while he paints. i sit in one of the rocking chairs and watch or talk or sip coffee with him. and i fall in love. this happens again and again. it’s on “repeat” – this falling-in-love-with-a-work-on-the-wall. something jumps out at me or gently reaches out and shimmers its way to my heart and i am forever connected. and i say, “you can’t sell this one!”

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he can’t sell this one.  my heart is ever-connected to it.

now, of course, for someone who makes a living as an artist, eliminating pieces from the mix of those available for sale can be somewhat exasperatingly limiting. but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. and sometimes, when he paints, i want to keep it. (actually, that happens often, so i should get credit for not always acting on my heart-impulse.)

we were at ukulele band rehearsal a few nights ago. i had my phone out because i had forgotten to bring a AA battery for the clock on the wall and so i needed my phone handy for timing. my uke band does not want to go overtime, unless the patio and wine are involved. suddenly it dinged and there was a text message. and i needed to share with them…..at that moment david’s sister had texted that his great-niece, who was in labor, had begun “pushing”. in a short time there would be a new baby girl in the world. shimmering, indeed.

so many shimmering moments. sitting with dear friends around a potluck meal and laughing uncontrollably. the moment the boy calls to show you via facetime their new apartment. noticing the moon at night. a glass of wine by the chiminea. the first glimpse of color in the woods. IMG_0027seeing the girl in the flannel shirt you passed to her from your dad, her pa. a combed beach. IMG_3137tears of joy. holding hands in prayer. waking up pretzeled together. rich bass notes on my piano. a bite of a really good pear or a honey crisp apple. the dog and cat laying together. holding your child, tiny or grown. telling old stories. turning your head while driving the car to see your husband gazing at you. a first cup of morning coffee in bed. seeing the birds lined up at the bird feeder. listening to gabriel’s oboe.

it is sobering to think about all that is happening at any given moment, all over the world. our connection to all -through all the layers- makes it all ours. the good and the bad, the exquisite and the devastating. which should probably make us realize that any moments we are having that are particularly difficult are also shared by others. never alone. we are all in this together. this life thing.

david reminded me that at the book reading the other night author joyce maynard said, “it is my obligation to live!” it is. to find those shimmering moments. to let them shimmer. to not blunt them or try to put out the flash of fire they give us. the fire to keep stepping. through it all. all that shimmers and all that doesn’t.

itunes: kerri sherwood

www.kerrisherwood.com