reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the end goal. [flawed wednesday]

when the exposure notification availability showed up on the iphone, i x-ed it out. it comes every day and every day i delete it. i’m not sure we need any more reminders of covid exposure. we are already hyper aware of the dangers of this virus, the breakthrough possibility, the guidelines. last night we talked about all the places we would go were it not for this pandemic. the list was seemingly endless and we were in wonder about missing all of it.

we know that others are out there living life as any other day, as in any other time. i don’t know how to do that right now. any moment i forget about it and start talking about something fun to do or someplace fun to go, i remember. the benefit-risk factor is mightily dependent on, well, every facet involved, including higher threat and protecting ourselves and people we love. but i do know this – if it is for my children, i will do it. though we don’t get to exercise it much, that risk is unconditional.

we are finding that maybe we are more conservative, more cautious than others as we weigh our activities and destinations. it’s frustrating. we are a year and a half into this and, while vaccinations help us significantly, there is no stopping a mutating virus that wants to spread without the cooperation of everyone.

at the end of this pandemic, when there IS one, we will look around at the wreckage. lives and health and homes and jobs and security have been decimated. there are those who have been ultra-cavalier and have blatantly denied and defied any safety measures. there are those who have gone to disney, who have gathered in large unmasked gatherings, who have traveled widely. and there are those of us who have not. it’s a wide spectrum where, really, the most prudent route seems a narrower band of collaboration. and it – truly – sometimes makes me ponder what we’re missing. and, even though i ask ‘why?’ time and again, we stay on the track we have decided on, committing to an end to this insanity.

i suppose an argument against the way we are navigating through this would be that we are living out of fear, that we are limiting ourselves in a limitless world because, even when we have no guarantee for life in ANY given circumstance, we have bowed to covid-19, a frightening reality that makes us pay attention. it makes me sad to write that.

at the end others will have lived through it and have traveled and celebrated and eaten out. and hopefully we, too, will have lived through it. but our experience-list will be shorter; if traveling and celebrating and eating out are the things that count we have the tiniest list. our experience-list includes a serious respect for medicine, for science, for experts trying to help us mitigate this. it includes a deep concern for others and a wish for their good health and well-being. it lists to the end goal and not the short term. it includes the very-fewest visits with beloved children and family, in some cases none, tearing at my heart, painful. it includes much home-time, gratitude for this place in which we work and learn and cook and grow and dance. it’s much narrower than we would have imagined and, yet, it is rich in ways i also could not have imagined.

and next year, or sooner, i hope, maybe our experience-list will include irish fest and farmer’s markets and eating at the bar at wine-knot and restaurants in chicago and exploring in north carolina and live-in-person conversations with people who have been there for us, national geographic live events and long stays in the rocky mountains with mornings at cabin coffee in breck and winterfest in cedarburg and a slow dance party revisited on our patio, with people spilling into the kitchen, making drinks and preparing hors d’oeuvres.

maybe our experience-list will include a booster shot and no masks and fewer headlines about staggering loss and more news about communities coming together in support of each other.

maybe our experience-list will have less worry and less fear. the end goal.

stay well. stay safe.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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“easy way down” and the way back up. [merely-a-thought monday]

in the middle of going down, down, down, i wondered about going up. it was a steep descent down the mountain service road and seemed interminable, winding around and around, but big red was up top and the return back up was inevitable. not only did it seem possibly insurmountable, it was laughable because it became clear to us that siri had directed us improperly to the start of the trail we wanted to hike. so there we were, trekking down a gravel service road with amazing views and a really big uphill back to look for our desired trail. “you have arrived,” siri announced. we stared into the forest looking for a trailhead, a trail, leaves crunched down that resembled a path…and saw nothing. it may have been an easy way down but it would be torturous going back up.

we have descended into the hell of a divided country. nearly 224,000 people have died – in this nation alone – of a pandemic that has swept the world and yet the president of this country continues to drag us down further, encouraging rallies sans masks or social distancing, insisting that this raging pandemic is “rounding the turn”. rounding the turn to where, we ask. it can only be a deeper cave of hades. his rhetoric, his falsehoods, his dismissive behavior of anything that might actually be of value to save-lives-right-now, have dragged us down to a devastating abyss.

it was easy going down. going back up, clawing our way to the surface of sanity and truth and virtue, will be harrowing. the crevasses are deep, the sides of the chasm walls strewn with piercing fallacies that must be sorted out. the rescuers are magnanimous, saving all the populace despite their flailing arms and dangerous tales. how much lower can we go?

and the truly sad part is that the pandemic is just one arm of the waterboarding, the suffocating performed by this administration. with bigotry and systemic and systematic racism, with decimated healthcare and a constant bow to the wealthy, with so much evidence of hatred and lies, inequality and political chaos, the current leadership has undermined the foundation of a country built on a celebration of the melting pot. the easy way down.

it is time to rise up and start walking. it is time to stare audacity in its face and vote it out. it is time to gather all strength and, with panting breath, make our way back up. to a horizon of light and love, to healing for this country and its citizens, every last one of them.

the way back up is not easy. but it’s achievable.

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


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in the distance now. [two artists tuesday]

mountains in the distance CO copy

i cry when i first see them.  i cry when they are disappearing.  those mountains.  my last long look at them as we drive east out of colorado.  those billboards and tshirts and bumper stickers that say, “the mountains are calling and i must go” speak to me.  they have ever since i was 18 and first experienced them.  john denver’s rocky mountains have been a lure for decades now.  and i can feel the pull, even from a distance.

if you look past the horizon in this photograph you will see what i last saw as we drove away a few days ago.  you won’t know that tears came to my eyes or that i turned in my seat to watch the vista fading away at 70mph.  we didn’t even get into the mountains this trip and i could still feel my heart stretching, reaching to hold on.

they are in the distance now.  so much so that i cannot see them.

but i carry those mountains with me and know we will one day, again, be there.  i will catch my breath when they loom suddenly into view.  we will drive deeper into them, surrounded by forest and canyons and soaring beauty.  we will hike on adventures and we will sit and gaze in wonder.  and then, when it is time to leave, i will crane my neck and watch them disappear.  into the distance.  no dry eyes here.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the mountains are calling.

there is a spot when you are driving to colorado that – all of a sudden – the mountains come into view. they are far away, on the horizon, but their presence hits me to the core. every single time i catch my breath. every single time i get tears in my eyes. every single time i anticipate the air i feel there, the space, the vastness, the greatness, the majesty of those ever-present giants.

we come over the rise of the pass and i instantly weep. there in front of us are these incredible soaring heights of rock, dotted with gorgeous green pine trees, verdant aspens. every single time i catch my breath. every single time i weep. every single time i anticipate the air i feel there, the space, the vastness, the greatness, the majesty of those ever-present giants.

we sit in adirondack chairs in the snow, midway up a-basin, soaking in the sun, eating baradirondackchairsAbasinbecue, listening to a band. in front of us, hundreds of spring skiers and boarders go past us – we virtually have front row seats. we watch the girl approach from the heights of the ski mountain…she gets closer, closer. her ability on that snowboard astounds us. she is one with it; her passion for the snow obvious in her huge laughter as she stops abruptly in front of us, deliberately and generously spraying us with snow and slush. leighonsnowboardi catch my breath as i look at my beautiful daughter, the mountains behind her, intense sun. i laugh, all the way from my heart, as i celebrate with her. this air, this space, this vastness, this greatness, this majesty.

one of our hikes was about 6 miles, half of that all uphill. not uphill like the little hill that used to be at the end of the road i grew up on, where you could not pedal all the way down and the momentum would take you all the way around the corner and beyond. no, this uphill is serious. i’m not sure of the elevation gain, but, after the hike, i would swear it paralleled everest.  …ok, maybe not so much… regardless, it was uphill in snow. snow! we were hiking well into june and there was snow on this trail. lots of it. feetinsnowhikingthe air was clear and crisp. the sun dappled through the trees. (haven’t you always wanted to write that? “dappled through the trees.”)   when you are on the mountain hiking, you aren’t as aware of the mountain, if that makes sense. (i remember one time out in the colorado mountains when i was heading to a concert venue and they gave me directions through high elevation plains.  i drove along, wondering where the mountains had gone.  when you are up on them, you don’t see them.  so much like life, eh?)  but when you are hiking and you come up to a clearing kdotatclearingand there is a break in the trees and you can see beyond where you are standing, beyond the trail, beyond limitations, you can see that the mountains out there go on and on and on. we came upon such a clearing and i caught my breath. i didn’t want to turn around. i wanted to keep going and going. to see more of this space, this vastness, this great majesty.

we were driving down the mountain and came upon a lookout with a trailhead. stopping to get out and stretch our legs on the trail we took a few pictures. (this is a never-ending thing…there is an incredible photograph every other second. you have to be careful to not get lost behind the camera – sometimes you miss the moment that way.)  the photographs looked not “real”  –  the beauty so …….what word is bigger than astounding? i stand and look out in amazement.   tears of gratitude and joy and sheer life make me catch my breath.   once again, that air, that space, that vastness, that greatness, the majesty. all right there.

lake dillon

it’s funny how when i write about these mountains, this place, i can’t seem to stay in the same tense. if she reads this, andrea will shake her head and wonder if i remember anything she taught me about writing back in high school. but there is something that dominates my need for tense-correctness in this writing. it’s the holding-on-feeling-it-still-ness of these moments. it confuses the tense use, but helps me – viscerally – like goose bumps on my skin – remember. so i will forgo correctness for anything to burn these golden moments – like a kiln with raku pottery – into my memory bank, open to draw upon any time i need to.

i cry a lot in the mountains. it’s always good. it’s Divine Intervention reminding me to breathe, touch, taste, see, feel each and every moment. they are vast and great and majestic. every one is our own mountain. and yes, they are calling.

onthetrail2

 

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