reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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paddles in the water. [d.r. thursday]

vincent was there. right off the side of our canoe he swirled his paintbrush and the water canvas became starry-night dreamy. charles schulz was there too and i could see snoopy dancing atop the surface. it kept evolving, even without the help of our paddles. ever-changing.

jaxon was two yesterday. his curiosity, his energy are unmatched. he is fearless. everything is possible and the whole world stretches in front of him. his boundless zeal, like a fast paddle in the water, arranges and rearranges utterly everything-in-life continually. he is not considering how to approach life. he is simply living it. no expectations. just embracing it all – the whole kaleidoscope.

being on the road takes you away from the norm. it takes you out of the bills, the projects, day to day worries or concerns, dealing with health issues. you are suddenly on the surface of the lake – so to speak – skimming along in littlebabyscion, watching the world go by. we get to the city-we’ve-never-visited-before, a city trying to keep up with immense growth. the districts are working on revitalization. we take walks in historic neighborhoods and fall in love with bungalows and big porches. and we wonder.

we sit in a stadium – the first time in many years – surrounded by 60,000 people – the first time in many years – to see a concert – the first time in many years. we marvel at the changes we have felt in those years.

we hug her goodbye. parenthood is dynamic, never static, and motherhood is no easy trail. missing is just plain hard. i try to adjust, to readjust and readjust again, to hold it all lightly. the paddle on the surface of my heart teaches me lesson after lesson.

we wonder about all of them as we drive on – the people out there also driving, the people whose homes we are passing by, the people in the rest area, the people in the local grocery store. what is their life? who are they? what are their worries? what are their joys? sometimes you can feel it, even from the road. we both nearly wept as we passed by a very-rusty-beige-identical-trailers trailer park with maybe fifty bereft homes in an arid dirt expanse of land; treeless, shadeless, plantless, playgroundless, it felt hopeless. every shade on every trailer we could see was pulled shut. we saw no people, though each trailer had a vehicle parked nearby. it was south carolina, not at its best. no pastel-colored historic homes, wrap-around porches or coastal beaches, no palmettos, no golf courses or rolling grassy knolls. just nothing. dirt. except these trailer homes – and we had to try to wrap our heads around the fact that at least there were homes with roofs, perhaps air conditioning to ease the hot muggy heat. the empath cloud followed us for miles until we could shake it loose, putting our paddles into the water and stirring things up as we drove.

we arrive in the mountains, zigging, zagging, climbing. tall trees block the sun and suddenly we are cooler and everything takes on the color green. it keeps changing, this expanse, these days of life.

we’ll hike. every turn in the trail will be different, every view different. the elevation will give us a view of the mountains – out there – and we’ll photograph them to remember. we’ll dip bandanas in streams to cool off and stand by waterfalls taking pictures to remember.

and when we get home, it will all swirl around us – the moments. vincent and snoopy will laugh a little at our attempts to hold onto it. and jaxon will remind us of how gently to hold the kaleidoscope.

*****

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parking spot swagger. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

there are three parking apps on my phone. and that’s just to cover chicago.

not wanting to appear outdated (ahem!) or out-of-the-loop, just before the last time we went to visit our son, i loaded two new apps…that way, no matter where we parked i would have it covered. no matter what space – on the street, in the lot, in someone’s yard, anywhere – i would be able to -all-casual-like – take out my phone and calmly pay for our spot without a second thought. i was ready. the credit card was loaded, the apps were signed into and open. and i was both proud and brave, thinking i was on top of it. i mean, driving in the city has enough issues sans parking woes. i detest bumper-drivers and people who weave in and out of lanes, the aggression of people-trying-to-get-somewhere faster than the people in front of them. we choose the back way as much as possible.

we had picked him up and drove over to the restaurant, through a crowded wrigleyville on a cubs-home-game-day, having had someone drive right into littlebabyscion’s back bumper at a red light, arriving to parallel park on the street. i was all ready. i pulled out my phone, poised to impress everyone with my parking readiness, this new knowledge of parking spot ease.

i studied the sign on the side of the street. a little confused, i looked over at my son, who was counting his lucky stars he had survived my city-driving to arrive at lunch. alas, it was sunday. and in a moment of utter letdown-from-a-big-buildup, he announced that we didn’t have to pay to park.

as lovely as it was to park for free – imagine! – i was disappointed to not use my newfound parking je ne sais quoi. the irony.

we drove home the back way, through little towns and on country roads, with no one on our bumper, figuratively or literally, confident that we could park anywhere our little hearts desired.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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past the curve in the tracks. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

somewhere along the way someone impressed upon me not to ever walk on railroad tracks. and so i never have. until the day i stood in the middle of these tracks and took a few pictures.

railroad tracks intrigue me, whether teetering on the edge of a mountainous precipice or crossing the great plains. i was astounded the day i drove along the arkansas river in red rock canyons, tracks by my side. i could not imagine the arduous, back-breaking, dangerous work it took to install those tracks. at home, the sound of the train whistle at night is reassuring. the whiz of the train passing by the trail is a blur of amtrack cars, headed for mysterious destinations; i reluctantly hold back waving to the engineer as the train passes the crossing.

we’ve missed taking the train to chicago to see our son or for adventures in this last year-plus-of-covid. for that matter, we’ve missed airplanes as well. we’ve driven anywhere we have gone. and today is no exception.

today we are driving. yesterday as well. long days in big red across acres of corn-states, browned, tinges of color in the trees. the sun rises out the hotel window as we prepare to leave and we ponder what we will see today, what markers of this new season will be side-of-road. in the wide open spaces trains will appear, seemingly unending freight trains, the stuff of yesteryear ‘boxcar children‘ and reading books with my kids. time and years and planting and harvest and fallow and regrowth. corn and soybeans, bending sunflowers, leaves beginning to acknowledge golds and reds – all remind us.

we’ll arrive in colorado, attend a come-and-go dinner (i believe this is the same as an open house, though i haven’t heard that terminology before). tomorrow’s schedule is all set; all the while we will be processing the reason we are there – the loss of david’s dad. somewhere in the middle of the scheduled events and the eating, we will walk in quiet under the colorful-colorado sky and grasp that which seems surreal right now. we’ll talk a little about time passing and stories of days gone by. we’ll gaze out at the mountains and see the past, the future. we’ll say goodbye to columbus, all the while knowing, in the way of the death of a parent, he’ll stay right here with us.

and we’ll wonder what’s around the curve in the tracks.

*****

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no time to spare. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

this doesn’t really need a whole heck of a lot of other words. suffice it to say, we’ve been there. the days of old – or is it days of yore? – are over. the days of driving with venti starbucks at our sides are over. the days of driving without stopping are over. the days of toodling along with no cares in the world are over.

we are rest area junkies. we know where they are – those familiar blue signs on the interstate. we know which rest areas have the nicest bathrooms. we know the gas stations and convenience stores that have the nicest bathrooms. and we have – more than once – exceeded the speed limit on the exit ramps to these fine amenities. there is no time to spare.

we know that the busy bee in live oak, florida on i-10 rocks and that the sphagnum-moss rest area on the way to door county is clean and safe. we know also that we will “hold it” across montana unless we can find a mcdonald’s and that, even in snow, there are portapotties in the rest area just up the road after frisco before vail. in other news, we know the best back roads and where corn grows high, but we won’t talk about that.

i’m guessing, if you are reading this, you get it. there is nothing worse than an hugely-anticipated rest area under construction.

read DAVID’S thoughts this SMACK-DAB SATURDAY

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com


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twizzlers. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

we adore roadtrips. they are excuses for meandering thoughts, quiet appreciation of landscape, coffeehouse exploration, ridiculous amounts of snack foods. we are guilty of eating our way across the country and we have no established rules for that. all bets are off and we have joyfully entered gas station and service area mini-marts nationwide looking for anything and everything that will refill our snack-coffers and amuse our palates. gourmet or down-and-dirty salty chips – it does not matter. the one consistent partner for me, the sidekick – as hershey’s calls it – though, is twizzlers.

twizzlers are age-appropriate no matter your age. happy candy with amazing roadtrip powers, with a presence in every state or country we have traveled, i’m thinking the hershey folks should sponsor us. yes, in their own words, i’d suggest they “chew on it!”

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING SMACK-DAB

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big red. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

CO to WI copy

colorado to wisconsin.  with a stop in columbia, missouri.  the first day is long.  twelve hours give or take.  we drive out of colorado into kansas, which has to be one of the wider states in the journey, and head for wendy’s.  she and keith are tolerant of whatever-time-we-get-there, knowing the challenges of a long drive.  this time, it was different.

this time we weren’t in our littlebabyscion toodling along, huffing and puffing up hills.  this time we were in Big Red, a giant ford F150.  she hadn’t been driven this-far-at-one-time in years.  we were high up and felt like road warriors.

columbus gave us a couple cassette tapes to play in the player and, in planning ahead, i had brought a dozen favorites from years past (ok, the 70s are many years past.)  we played each of them, singing along.  and then switched to the radio.  it only seemed right that country music be blaring out of the speakers, so we obliged.

although we blasted cassettes of john denver, loggins and messina, alabama, england dan & john ford coley among others, i have a few favorite radio songs of the journey east and north.  one direction’s what makes you beautiful, lady gaga and bradley cooper singing shallow, toby keith’s i wanna talk about me and my new fave, billy currington’s good directions and turnip greens.  a sweet country-music story.

we were talking with jen and brad last night in their kitchen, lingering over our potluck together.  we talked about compromise and life and decisions and chance.  like everyone, david and i have had our share of each of those.  decisions sorted and pondered, and compromises, bending to the things that make life meaningful, balancing reality with idealism.  and then there’s chance.  we could relate to the story of turnip greens…happenstance changing life.   a choice, one direction taken, a turn, one click…and everything changes.  what comes is predicated on what was and what is this very second.  we second those lyrics – thank God for good directions and turnip greens.

we turned up the stereo in Big Red and opened the windows with the AC on.  somewhere along the way, we decided it was a she, for she had gently mothered columbus as he drove a bit more gingerly in recent days and she sturdily and protectively lumbered us across the country.  laughing and certain of everything and absolutely nothing, we turned this beautiful big old pickup truck toward home.

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

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cheers. as we go. [two artists tuesday]

starbuckscups

anyone who knows us knows that we love our coffee.  every night we literally look forward to coffee the next morning; we even talk about it.

it’s no different when we travel.  friends, in incredibly thoughtful gestures, have given us starbucks cards that we load onto the phone (proudly, i might add, since that speaks to our APP savvy…ok, slight APP savvy.)  we drive a few hours and start looking for the signs – on the highway – or on the APP (which i have to say is sometimes frustrating since – it seems – the APP locator doesn’t differentiate what direction you are going and sometimes displays a starbucks cafe twenty miles away….and we get excited….only to realize it is twenty miles BEHIND us.)  but i digress….

pretty much every time we stop to get our double espresso (knowing sandy sue is rolling her eyes) we take a picture.  most of the time we send that picture (there are COUNTless photos of coffee cups on our phones) to our dear friend 20, although jen and others have received these oh-so-meaningful photos.  double espressos are good (called “doppio” if you want to seem really hip at the starbucks) because they make it possible to have lots of caffeine without having to stop at every rest area or small convenience store you pass while you are traveling long-distance.

we also love to find independent coffeehouses.  one day in asheville, north carolina we literally stumbled into a great little coffeehouse while trying to navigate through a town under construction after a stressful morning drive.  i found a lucky parking spot, parallel parked into it and said, “let’s go find some coffee.  i neeeeeed coffee.”  we got out of the car, looked around us, trying to figure out which way to walk and stared right into the window of a granola-organic cafe with sweet little mugs of espresso and great gluten-free vegan sandwiches.  ahh.  bliss.

if you’re traveling and want to keep in touch with us, text us some “cheers from….” with your coffee cups.  we can relate.

and today…a nod and so much love to my big brother, who loved coffee even more than i do.  i’ve missed you for 26 years.  i’ll always miss you.

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cheers. as we go.  ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson