reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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chipping away, i suppose. [merely-a-thought monday]

long island has nicer springs than wisconsin. considerably warmer temperatures, more consistent sunshine, earlier flowers, i remember my birthday in late march as sweater-weather, with many birthday pictures taken in front of the yellow forsythia at the front corner of our yard where the grass met the curb of the street. not so much in wisconsin. it’s still cold, still windy, still cloudy, still rainy, even still snowy. as my birthday rolls around i am always hopeful that it will suddenly change and there will be 60 degree days and we will hike with no coats and no 180 earmuffs. invariably disappointed, we layer up and hike anyway. saturday was no exception. no in-like-a-lion-out-like-a-lamb for this state.

birthdays always seem to be a time of reflection. the generosity of wishes texted, emailed, called, zoomed, facetimed, mailed, shipped and wrapped on the doorstep are a heaping portion of goodness and they enveloped me in warmth all day. the lion of march did not reign the day. instead, the only roar i heard was laughter on the trail, on facetime with my niece, on zoom with best friends, reading the glittery-unicorn-poop card from my other niece, the lingering echoes of my girl and her boyfriend singing to me, my son’s voice on the other end of the phone, a dinner invite from him and his boyfriend, singing memojis, exploding confetti on a text from crunch, music and spattered painting in an ecard from my mother-in-law, words in messages penned or typed, thoughtfully chosen. i lit my new candle, named my adorable new gardenia bonsai, and pulled my concentric circles ever tighter to me, hugging them back. there are days i think that every day should absolutely be lived like a birthday.

there was a common denominator in messages. my husband cleverly made a birthday book about life and love from a pa-pad, pads of scrap paper cut and glued by my sweet poppo in his effort to save trees and the environment. a dear friend from elementary school wrote that she hoped all my wishes come true. my oldest friend ever, a cherished friendship that has sustained through the years, wrote that she hoped i was celebrating. in one card that wished me “all things beautiful” i read, “may you always see the beauty in this world and be encouraged to keep pressing on, regardless of the stumbling blocks or hurdles that stand in the way.” in another was simply the word “forever”. another made me laugh aloud, poking fun at growing older. another wished me a better year. and one reminded me that “we are all works in progress.” in that card, my wise friend added “to ever evolving you” to the message “to another good year of chipping away…”

ever evolving.

the spring rains gather on the deck. they clean off the last of the snow and dirt that have been left there through the winter. like periods on sentences, they mark a new time of growth, an end to fallow, warmth on its way. there have been so many periods on sentences this year. too many. it is a time of wondering. clarity is elusive. it is a time of giving over to not-knowing.

i suppose it is possible that this is the lesson after all. not-knowing. ever. i suppose that spring – even in wisconsin – could surprise me. i suppose no time is really a time of stasis. i suppose that is why riverstones are so smooth. i suppose that, no matter what, the promise is to be ever evolving.

*****

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


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it’s my *hand*. [k.s. friday]

there is nothing certain. nothing totally black or white. but this morning i am in the middle of the grey; fog has closed in and nothing is certain.

in a few hours i will know more. i will know what has happened to my hand and wrist. having already healed fractures from two broken wrists ala snowboarding this winter, i will know what changed the day that i fell recently – a serious fall, hard and directly on my reflex-outstretched hand – on an unmarked wet floor.

soon i will know why it aches constantly, why i can’t extend near an octave, why i can’t pick up my cat or the bucket to wash the car, why i can’t bend my wrist forward more than 5 degrees.

i’m pretty tough when it comes to pain; my threshold is pretty high. usually for me, it’s just a matter of dealing with it and getting used to it. and then i adjust. and people around me don’t actually know that there is any problem because i am making do.

but *this* is different. this is what i do. this is how i make a living. this is my profession. it has always been my profession. i am an artist – and a human with opposable thumbs – and this is my *hand*.

and so i am anxious to know what this hand specialist says, what he recommends, what he forecasts as the route for rehabilitation from this new injury, the arc for healing, the possibility for playing, the chance to ‘have my hand back’.

because, as i told david when we were walking on the trail the other day, this is not short term. this is long term.

there are wooden stages i want to play on, albums i might consider recording, babies i want to pick up, cars i want to wash. there are potatoes i want to mash, hand-whipped whip cream to whip, songs to write, doorknobs to turn, manual cars i want to shift. there are cellos i want to play, dishes to scrub, leaves i want to rake, jars i want to open, hard-to-reach spots on my back i want to scratch. there are boxes i want to be able to pick up, moves i want to help with, conducting batons to hold, guitars i want to fingerpick, waterski towropes i want to hold. there are bikes i want to ride, yoga positions i’d maybe like to try, reins i want to hold, clay pots i want to throw, my strong dog i want to walk on leash, mountains i want to try scrambling up. there are warm gloves i want to wear, rings i want to put back on, glissandos to execute.

but i can’t.

this is no small list. this is no small thing. this is my hand and my wrist and, like you, i have taken it for granted. until now.

there is nothing truly black or white, but i am anxious to be out of the middle, that liminal space, of not-knowing.

oh, and i want to do cartwheels.

but, then, i’ve never been able to do those.

purchase music to download on iTUNES

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

IT’S NOT BLACK AND WHITE from RIGHT NOW © 2010 kerri sherwood


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a shred of hope. [k.s. friday]

a shred of hope box

to write on-the-fly requires a certain letting-go.  one cannot be too exacting.  there is always another note, another rest, another phrase, another measure.  always a chance to iron out the details, clean up the rough, rake the sandy grit.  composing improvisationally is stepping into not-knowing and following threads that show up.  because, instrumentally, i am typically an it’s-a-song-without-words writer, i listen and hang on to where the thread brought me, seizing it to wrap back to themes stated, to gestures implied.  the starting gate is full of imagery or word-phrases, emotions to elicit.  a shred of hope rose up in front of me today and this time, in an effort to not push back against hope, i answered.  the call and response to a scintilla of hope spoke in glimmers of 1 minute 42 seconds.

yesterday was an historic day.  after days, months, years, decades of not really speaking up, i found myself speaking.  processing the balance of liability-seesaws, i wondered why i hadn’t spoken aloud about things that were not ok, things that were clearly unfair, inequitable, people who were aggressive, people who were passive-aggressive, those who were destructive, those who undermined, those who did not help.  i felt the confines of the wrapping-which-kept-me-quiet and pulled tightly across my heart drop ever so slightly away, fibers draping and drifting. voice, a deep breath, a little lighter.  a beginning.  a shred of hope.

wednesday was an historic day.  we gathered together online again, ukuleles and singers. and yesterday i read a post from one of the young women there, “when you play music in a group where the ages range from 31 to 94 you always feel blessed.”  community.  shared.  a place of i-love-you-love-me.  a shred of hope.

tuesday was an historic day.  a brilliant woman of afro-indian descent was chosen as the vice-presidential running mate of the democratic party’s candidate.  oh, where we have finally come, where we will finally go.  a shred of hope.

monday was an historic day.  the derecho roared by.  our tall old trees were spared.  this time the rain did not pour in by the air conditioner.  the dog and the cat shared the basement with us until the tornado warning expired.  we sipped wine and rocked in rocking chairs, listening to the sound of the wind and rain above us.  our little space in the world was safe.  a shred of hope.

the prayer flags shred in the wind, sending prayers off into the universe.  bits and pieces fall to the ground or fly off in the breeze.  a perfect heart landed on our deck.  a shred of hope.

it all doesn’t change the lost-ness of last friday’s on-the-fly.   we have much to weave back together and so much to let go in this broken narrative, a tapestry of individuals, families, cities, states, a country, a world in pain.

but there is a shred of hope.

if you would like to listen to more of my music, i would ask you to please download it here on iTunes instead of streaming it. it’s how i make a living. every download counts.

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

kindly consider following this blog while facebook navigates its way to restoring my blog to its platform.  thank you so much.

single prayer flag website box

©️ 2020 kerri sherwood

 


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winding trail. [two artists tuesday]

winding trail

the road from here to there is oft not straight.  the way the crow flies is irrelevant.  “the only way there is through,” joan told me quite some time ago.  we were talking about grief.  i had lost my sweet momma and it felt brutal; at any age the loss of a parent is profound.  i was talking to joan about it – about getting to the other side of the grief.  and she told me that the only way there was through it.  a winding trail it was, with switchbacks and no guardrails.

that has happened for me with each encounter with grief.  there is nothing easy about it, nothing straight.  the grief of loss, the grief of instability, the grief of anxiety, the grief of fear, the grief of insecurity, the grief of aging, the grief of failure, the grief of change, in all its rampant forms.

and yet, out hiking, winding trails are my preference.  a hike that takes me past hidden-treasure-vistas, a hike where i cannot see the end from the beginning, a hike that surprises at each turn.  these winding trails are gifts in the woods, in the mountains, in between red rock formations high in elevation.  there is much to see, much to learn about.  they are journeys of not-knowing.  they are journeys of wonder, of revelation.

we are not crows; no flightpath in our lives will be straight, no endpoint clear in our sight, no one thing all the way from here to there, no vector traveled without veering a bit off-course.  even reverse-threading our lives will not reveal a straight path; instead it will reveal a vast horizon of ping-ponging and circuitous route-making.  we will most definitely wind around, through decisions and opportunities, missed marks and challenges at the goal line, defining and re-defining.  living.

which winds me back to joan’s wise words of years ago, which i can still hear her saying.  the only way from here to there is through.  winding trail and all.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

Arches longview website box

 


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bridge. [k.s. friday]

bridge song box copy

“when one door closes another door opens.”  how many times have you heard that?  people fail to address the hallway in-between.  ahh….that hallway in between.  full of mystery.  full of questions.  full of wondering.  full of not-knowing.  it can be freeing; it can be torturous.  bridging from now to next.

two to three months after my big brother died, my sweet momma continued to have nights when she could not sleep.  she would rise from bed and go down the short hall to the bedroom that served as her office.  in that short walk, she would pass the entrance to the living room.  one night, as she passed the living room, glancing in she saw a depression in the very top of the recliner, the way it looks when someone is sitting with their head against the back of the chair.  this chair…the very one that my brother sat in so many times in the last months of his life, close to the front door so that he didn’t have to go too far and become too tired.

my momma, not given to fanciful imaginings, decided to walk into the living room to find out why the headrest of this chair gave the appearance of someone in it.  she came around to the front of the chair and found my brother.  he was sleeping in the chair and did not stir while she stood there.  she never said a word, just silently watched for a couple of minutes.  her heart full, she quietly walked to her office.  an hour or so later, when she was ready for bed, she walked back down the short hall, this time glancing in to the living room to see if the headrest was still shaped as it had been, if my brother was still there.  the recliner had returned to its normal state.  my brother was no longer there.  she went to bed and slept, her time in the hall of grief a little lighter, a little less encumbered, a little less painful.  mysterious, full of questions, full of wondering and not-knowing.  freeing and a little torturous.  but moving into next.

download the album AS IT IS on iTunes or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

bike trail stream website box

BRIDGE from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 


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waiting. [k.s. friday]

waiting song box copy.jpg

it’s not a complex piece of music. it’s a line out of my heart at the moment in time i was recording it.  it’s the mystery that surrounds waiting.  it’s the depth of biding one’s time.  it’s the expression of sitting tight and holding on, of not-knowing.  it’s the tentative simplicity of before…before the time of getting to the end of waiting.  it’s the time of anticipation, of advent – the time of emergence, of arrival, of birth.

it’s not complicated.  it’s just waiting.

download JOY – A CHRISTMAS ALBUM on iTUNES or CDBaby

 

christmas albums

and yet….more throw pillows to end the week….

kerri pillows copy

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

bong trail, wisconsin website box copy

WAITING from JOY – A CHRISTMAS ALBUM ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood