reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the old brick wall. [d.r. thursday]

they saved the old brick wall.

the sign we have in our yard out in front of that brick wall is a proclamation of things we hold to be true. a few phrases down is: water is life.

yes. water is life. and for the last few days, we have been dealing with yet another water issue…this one seemingly the culminating water issue, though just writing that makes me want to knock wood. suddenly, the underground water line from the curb to our house was leaking, gurgling up through the muddy grass, puddling and icing on the sidewalk and down the neighbor’s driveway and into the street. we blocked the walk with our old rickety adirondack chairs that featured signs that read “sidewalk closed”. and we called the utility department, which labeled it “an emergency”.

the water utility folks came out monday morning and the week’s upheaval started. the engineer who came and gave us all the information about having the service line replaced was kind and patient and reassuring. i have spoken to this man at least thirteen times over the past couple days and we are considering him (and his wife who we haven’t yet met) – and all the participants of what seemed like grand central station in these last days – members of our new friend group.

though there are less invasive options to replacing the get-out-the-lead old service line, it would seem that the universe was having a good ole time and made those options impossible for our situation. when the boss came inside to tell me they had to trench the yard, i could tell by the look on his face what was coming. already working for about four hours, they were unable to “pull” the pipe through our old line and so it was back to ground zero.

they left about six hours after that. back hoes and dump trucks, pickups and extra scoops and other large equipment lined the street, the front yard was dug up, big slabs of sidewalk by the road and by the front door removed, bushes gone, our big old tree limbed to accommodate the equipment, the basement floor jackhammered, the closet wall along the front of the house removed and a new hole installed in the foundation for accessible water line placement. shiny copper was laid in the five foot deep trench from curb to our home. and the number of very hardworking people through our house or out front during a very long day was at least a dozen.

dogdog was in the bedroom having a hairy snit all day, eliminated from the fun. we were in the midst of it all, alternately working on stuff and pacing. it was a lot.

i’ve seen the yard ravaged before; when we first moved in, decades ago, we had an undisclosed underground oil tank removed. the oil tank surprisingly rotated on the front-loader and sludge spilled out, which they rapidly covered with kitty litter and then excavated it all out, digging inches below the surface, removing everything that resembled landscaping.

and so i know that there is a next day to what the yard looks like today. it will take a good long time for the trench-fill to settle and the city-guy recommended not sodding until next fall to avoid disappointment with the very large dimple that would invariably form in the yard. so…patience through the winter and the spring and the summer. i told him we’d have our neighbors call him if they wanted to complain about the aesthetics of our yard.

jen wrote, “it’s so hard to see bits of our life story destroyed.” pretty emotional in the middle of all the chaos, i agreed.

the guys in and out of the house were aware. we knew they didn’t want to dig up the yard and wreak any more havoc than we felt. we are grateful for their careful demolition, their problem-solving expertise and for the obvious camaraderie they all have, working together to a common goal. every spoke in the wheel counted yesterday, counts every single day. together is something for which we should all express thanks. none of us do this – life – alone.

before they left, most of these excavating, plumbing, mechanical, engineering specialists wished us a happy thanksgiving. thinking of everyone and everything we hold close and for which we have enormous gratitude, we wished them the same.

we’ll rebuild the yard and put in new flowers and bushes, new ornamental grasses, new landscaping. we’ll hope that the old tree will withstand the jostling and limbing and its root system backhoed into pieces. we have water again. in this world where so many do not, we are lucky enough, lottery-lucky if we really think about our globe, to have fresh, clean water … and now through shiny copper pipes.

and the old brick wall is still standing.

happy thanksgiving.

*****

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


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a smidge away. [two artists tuesday]

it felt like we were away. we had never explored this area of milwaukee and, with time on our hands on a stunningly beautiful day, we walked. we decided it didn’t matter if we knew our way around or not, our phones and gps would get us back. so we left the airbnb in walker point and started north. knowing the lake was east of us, it was a natural turn to the right, the water drawing us.

the architecture of cream city brick and old warehouses is charming and i kept thinking how we needed to return to take photographs when we had more time to linger. we turned east at a warehouse that had been converted to condo living, industrial balconies lining the river with colorful bistro tables and teak adirondack chairs and strands and strands of strung lights. the evenings must be beautiful walking along the river toward lake michigan.

we could see the hoan bridge arching into the sky and headed toward it. we passed a guy on the sidewalk with a shirt that said “light the hoan” and i looked it up. “light is swiftly becoming one of the most powerful tools to breathe new life into cities,” the website promotes. i remember a beautiful suspension bridge lit across the river in east boston when our son lived there. the light changed everything and was stunning. you can purchase a bulb on the hoan, be a beacon in the night and know that people are sitting on balconies gazing and dreaming, much like staring into a bonfire. the bridge and its design drew my iphone camera toward it.

we wound our way through outdoor dining seating and along the docks, multiple times mentioning to each other that we would “come back” and explore more. it amazed me that, such a short distance away from home, we felt like we were away and adventure was simply waiting. an early evening wedding stopped us short of much exploration, but there’s always the next time.

we walked out to the lighthouse where the milwaukee river met lake michigan and stood for a few minutes before turning around. the art museum beckoned from up the lakefront; beyond that we know there are beaches and a favorite coffee house in an historic water treatment plant.

we walked back some of the way we came, sticking to the river as much as possible. flowers and shadows and railings and vintage glass finials, textures and surprises, restoration and beautiful intention our companions.

passing the docked boats, though no salt in this air, i got a whiff of the past. i could imagine i was at northport harbor, watching the comings and goings of boaters and fishermen. it made me have a taste for baked clams and buffalo calamari from skippers pub, a hop, skip and a jump away in my mind as the scent of waterfront and moored boats surrounded me.

though the pandemic and travel warnings might preclude a trip to long island, we, aloud, promised each other we would return to this walkway, to stroll along the river chatting and snapping pictures, to immerse in a sculpture walk, to find the perfect bistro table on the dock sidewalks, to dine al fresco in the swirl of memories and new adventures.

getting away just a smidge away.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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a time to close your eyes. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

sleeping dogga copy

there is little as comfortingly sweet as watching your dog sleep.  dogdog is whirling motion so when he sleeps in your presence it is a magical time of trust and deep respite.  the vision of him asleep on the bed or in the middle of the living room rug is a picture of all-is-right-in-the-world; he has no other cares except he is with his people and he can rest.

some of the times i remember most about when My Girl and My Boy were young are the times they fell asleep with me holding them, in my arms, on my lap.  the moment you feel their little-child-body relax and fall into you.  exquisite.

it’s that moment you sigh and lay your head back to nap with someone you love.  the moment you close your eyes on the beach towel in the sun, warm sand beneath you.  the moment you drift off in the grass watching the clouds.  oh yes, the moment your face plants against the window at the rest area during your long journey and a couple hours pass by.  the moment, hiking in high mountains, you lean against a tree and your eyes close to the sound of the wind in the aspens.

rest.  a time of no real conscious worry.  a time of innate trusting that all-will-be-well.  a time of repose, of tranquility, of solace.

i have found, sometimes, if i want to go to sleep and cannot, that if i watch dogga or babycat sleep it will slow my overthinking-breathing.  it will settle my heart and mind a bit.  it will remind me that my own whirling motion – physical, intellectual, emotional – needs time to rest, to curl up on the living room rug and close my eyes.

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

paws website box


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amazing grace. [k.s. friday]

amazinggraceonearthintsongbox copy

the woods along the trails by the des plaines river have been burned.  the fires, intentionally lit to restore native life to the forest floor, to burn out the invasive species that have harmed the vegetation.  already, post-burn, we can see green amid the blackened mulch.  already, there is newness of life.  the toxic has been deliberately remediated and goodness will prevail.  it will take some time, but it will eventually tip the balance and the woods will be better for it.

this is simple.  it is all around us.  the necessity for an intentional burn.  we wake up to a new day, a new sun, a new chance.  in this time of re-birth and restoration, we are amazingly gifted.  with grace.

i cannot help but think of the world despairingly coming together to lift up notre dame as it was on fire.  not at all intentional, not necessary, absolutely devastating to that beautiful and majestic cathedral, yet somehow it brings together a global community of people who recognize its importance, its value, its history, its soul.  and it will prevail.  in a divisive world, grace.

less is often more.  it is in that spirit i recorded this track of amazing grace

download ALWAYS WITH US VOLUME 2 on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

to view or purchase this stunning painting please click on this link or on the painting below

EarthInterrupted2 copy

hands website box copy

AMAZING GRACE from ALWAYS WITH US VOL 2 ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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we watch hgtv. yep.

photo-5we watch hgtv. yep. at the end of a long day after rehearsals or writing or computer work, there is nothing like sitting down to watch chip and jojo and their fixer-upper show. as they say, they take the worst house in the best neighborhood and make it a lovely place for people to live. what’s not to like? jojo’s sensibility is much the same as mine – i have found and re-purposed items all over our house. in fact, i love that they are now called “re-purposed”….it makes me feel like the scavenging and saving i do is chic and in style. (even though i know there are people who would roll their eyes at my driftwood, rocks, dry weeds, pieces of desks and old frames, screen doors with mini lights, shutters, and old peeling-paint window frames gracing our walls, not to mention the smallest sneakers and toddler stride-rites from the girl and the boy hanging on doorknobs.) regardless, jojo makes all that stuff cool. so that’s a win for me.

we watch hgtv. yep. after watching any episode of hgtv (fixer-upper, house hunters, love it or list it, all the flipping shows) i walk around our house. every nook and cranny has meaning. i have lived in this house 27 years. that’s longer than i have lived anywhere. it is a great house. it’s old. built in 1929, it has lots of history and character. it’s a strong house. it has weathered lots of storms, both outside and in. its strength gives me strength. it has great light – the old windows in the front let in light from the south and the big window over the sink lets in the light from the north. i can see the sun rise over the lake when i sit on the roof and i can see the sun set over the west from my studio. photo-4when the wood floors were re-done many years ago, when asked if we wanted the cracks filled between the boards, i looked with horror at the workman asking that question. the irregular cracks are the best part of the floor. (which makes me think of the cracks around my eyes….i’m hoping the same rule applies…)

we watch hgtv. yep. we say ‘yikes’ at the prices of homes and the pickiness of the couples purchasing them. we cannot believe the things that they want to gut. it saddens me to think of the sturdy house – a home – that hears couples listing the areas of the house they want to tear out, redo, make better, make new, change. sometimes, the best things are the old things. case in point – our stove/oven is over 35 years old. no, it is not attractive…not stainless steel or gas or a fancy viking, but it has stubbornly cooked meals for me the last 27 years, never challenging me or making me run out to buy a new one. as a matter of fact, i wonder when i actually will get a new stove/oven. it seems wasteful to worry about it while this one continues to work, continues to make yummy food that people will eat, gathered with us around our old table.

we watch hgtv. yep. because we love home. we love to see other people love home too. and we love to see the staff of hgtv sell/build/restore/remodel/make home. it reminds me to walk around this old house and lovingly thank each nook and cranny.

because i love this house – this home.photo-6

www.kerrisherwood.com

itunes: kerri sherwood