reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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those wander women. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

i hearted the comment by one of their instagram followers. it read: “boss move. inspire when you go. inspire when you stop. along for the ride whatever’s next.” exactly our sentiments.

the wander women HAVE inspired us. they have entertained us, taken us along on their adventures, encouraged us to plan, made us dream. we have watched them thru-hike the appalachian trail, the continental divide trail, the pacific crest trail – the triple crown. we have seen them in their rv, bemoaning the ailments that aging graces us with, yet, embracing those ailments, researching, asking questions, dealing with the cycles of grief that accompany those kinds of changes and, mostly, doing something about them. they self-care through the trappings of difficulties; they are solution-oriented and flexible. they are thriving.

their latest undertaking is to ride across-country on surly bikes – rail-trailing – from “sea to shining sea”. they rode from the pacific ocean through the state of washington, into idaho and entered montana. things got sketchy in montana – this country is not yet equipped to ride straight-across – and they were riding on shoulderless roads next to semis going 70 and 80mph, gravel or wobbles threatening their every pedal.

we are proud of their decision to stop. 700 miles in and they have decided to find a new plan, they have decided their safety and the enjoyment of each day is more important than just keeping on in a precarious situation.

and yes….it’s a boss move.

the wander women’s fortitude and courage and open-armed seize of life and experiences have made us realize that, though we have not thru-hiked before, we can set it as an intention. we can picture ourselves outside, weeks, months at a time, reveling in nature and quiet and every step. we can see the toe guards and the snack bags and the ponchos and the headnets. we wonder how we might arrange amazon-drone-drops of wine every so often.

though we watch many trailhikers, many backpackers and, as you know, have a certain affinity for, among others, that elusive my-own-frontier joey, it is the wander women – kristy and annette and, on earlier journeys, lynn, who inspire us, people of the same ‘certain’ age. they made a plan and set goals – retired, sold off their homes, their stuff, paid off their remaining debt, bought an rv and have a somewhat itinerant life full of fabulous escapades.

our plan will not likely mimic theirs, but who knows. the important thing is that it is making us excited about planning, excited about deliberate movement in that direction. those amazing wander women have been active hikers together all along, for decades. they have paid attention to their growth, their middle-age-changing-bodies; they have been mindful about their self-care and their continued movement. they “get outside”. but, they had to start somewhere. our hats are off to them – kristy and annette.

i figure – if they can do it, we can do it.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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fog. [k.s. friday]

and, if i am honest, i would tell you that i can feel the fog lifting. finally. i don’t think i knew the extent of the fog because fog is kind of like that. dense and clammy, less penetrable by light. once you are in it, you feel somewhat disoriented and everything looks different. you can’t really tell how foggy it is because suddenly you have nothing with which to compare it.

we underestimate the importance of attending to our emotional health. yes, there are all kinds of positive memes out there. yes, there are self-help books galore. yes, there are commercials on tv recommending therapy. yes, yes, yes. but we are stoic, we humans, and we are also stubborn and self-conscious. and many of us underplay how we are feeling, so as not to make others uncomfortable with our grappling. people ask how we are and our answer is “fine”. it’s just too too much to give a real answer. most people prefer answers with a little vague blurriness.

i ran into someone a bit ago at the fedex store. she asked me how i was. i told her. i don’t mean i told her “fine”. i actually told her. i can’t say it was a mistake, but she was writhing and trying to get away, though i was simply telling her how i was. i wasn’t verbose; it didn’t take much to say i had been struggling. but it was a truth and maybe she would have rather heard that everything that had happened in the last couple years took no toll. she wanted everything to be “fine”.

i recently saw a meme on someone’s facebook page. it read: “people don’t want to be talked out of their feelings. people want to be heard, seen, felt and understood.” (rachel samson) i always wonder if the people who post such things really mean them. surely they have also experienced times of soupy, where there was a ceiling of zero and they were feeling all of what life had tossed them.

it is in looking back at the dissipating cloud of fog that you know a little more the extent of your murky. it is in noticing light peeking in that you know a little more the extent of the loss of light. it is in seeing more clearly that you know a little more how much clarity was missing. it is in feeling my shoulders rise that i know that i have been bent under the weight of some sadness, some disappointment, some confusion.

though we all function in the middle of our haze, out of necessity, out of self-preservation, out of obligation, there is a moment when a pinprick of brightness burns through. we realize that the horizon is still there and that now, with the lure of distinct light and the buoys of clarity, we are headed in that direction. we’ve been brave and we’ve pulled energy from every cell to get to to that point and we keep taking steps, taking steps.

it isn’t easy. despite advertising dollars spent, this society is not really about self-help. it does not encourage time to be within oneself, time to rejuvenate, time to be healthy. our ideals push success and prosperity, seemingly at the price of balance. there is a cost for sharing what is real, for standing in fog, a worry of judgement and marks of weakness in our permanent record.

it’s up to each of us to step aside the everchugging uphill-downhill train and catch our breath. it’s up to each of us to breathe slowly and sort to that which makes us sit on the fulcrum of the nonstop seesaw. it’s up to each of us to be gentle on ourselves, to lighten up, to seek soft days that feed us and give us strength for the other days. it’s up to each of us to stand in self-care, to not worry ourselves with wondering about the judgement of others. it’s up to each of us to eliminate the stigma of admitting struggle. it’s up to each of us to support one another in the times of fog, to mean it if we ask “how are you?”. it’s up to each of us to reach and touch the curtain of fog as it lifts, grateful not only for its leaving, but for what we learned about its presence.

“the fog has lifted
the weight is gone
lightness has returned
singing is in me
humor also
light again
and i do not know why- “

(shalom freedman)

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

WHEN THE FOG LIFTS from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1997, 2000 kerri sherwood


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beachgrass and self-care. the same. [d.r. thursday]

and i can imagine that i have carefully laid down a blanket on the dunes of fire island or smith point park further east. i can hear the surf rolling and i can feel the sun on my face, warm sand heating the blanket under me. the grasses sway in the breeze and i can hear the tiniest gasps of music from a radio playing a long distance away. it is a piece of heaven.

and so much a piece of my memory that i could feel it when i looked at this through-the-grasses photo taken in my midwest front yard. things that are visceral.

i imagine that the next time i see the atlantic ocean or even long island sound, i will feel the same way as when i first see the mountains or pass into the canyons. it takes me by surprise every time, though i don’t know why i’m surprised. yet it’s overwhelming. the mountains. the ocean. for different reasons and for the same reason. it suddenly occurs to me – all at once and little by little – that i am but a tiny piece of this vastness. were i to not feel it, it would still exist. i am lucky enough to feel it.

i am writing this – a few days ahead – on my birthday. i just had a glorious breakfast in bed, a phone call with my beloved daughter. i’ve opened cards and read text messages and facebook posts. it is sunny and very cold and we will wrap up in warm clothes and go take a hike somewhere.

i was awake in the middle of the night. my beloved son texted me just after midnight. and then i laid awake.

the quilt and i talked about life until david woke up hearing our murmurings. we watched a trail or two and then, the wisdom of the wander women, amazing thru-hiking backpackers of a certain age. they talked about their feet, which got my attention. issues with their feet. bunions. arthritis. toes turning. they recommended tiny gel-rubber wedges and orthotics, ways to honor their own self-care.

suddenly i found tears streaming down my face. as a person who, for instance, wears a wrist brace and a finger splint to sleep, i have – for some reason – labeled this, in a kind of deprecating why-do-you-need-this way, as high-maintenance, a weakness. hearing them – “solution-oriented” – dedicated to gently and intentionally caring for their “gracefully aging bodies” so that they could go and DO – was visceral. i could feel their self-love, and the support they had for each other in that self-love, in thriving, just like i could feel the sun on my face and warm sand under me. not a weakness. no…instead, indeed, a strength. it was a moment for me.

i don’t imagine that i will weep when i try the gel wedges in my hiking boots. i don’t imagine that i will cry if i place an insole under my foot. though maybe i will. it’s not exactly the same as revisiting the mountains or catching the first glimpse of the ocean. but i might be underestimating it.

the beachgrass protects the dunes, trapping windblown sand. it preserves the beach, the barrier islands against severe wave or wind or storm. we work to secure ecosystems in the mountains, protecting vegetation and animals from destruction the best we can, preservation for water and energy.

last night, in the middle of the night as i moved from 62 to 63, i was reminded again: that though i am tiny-in-vast, just like each of us, we are – yes – here to feel it. with all the trappings and obstacles and challenges and gloriouses – we are responsible to care for our bodies – the best we can. to love each inch, despite anything. to support each other in that care.

to realize – suddenly – that finger splints and tiny gel wedges are the same as beachgrasses, really. all part of the same world. it really all counts the same.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

a day at the beach: mixed media 38×52
spoons and sandcastles: mixed media 28×57.5

A DAY AT THE BEACH, SPOONS AND SANDCASTLES ©️ 2017, 2018 david robinson


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pudgy pigeon. [flawed wednesday]

the pudgy pigeon was in the doorway. it didn’t move as we approached. it didn’t move as we took photographs. it didn’t move as i spoke to it and it didn’t move as we moved on. i worried about it after. something seemed awry.

while we were in colorado, we looked at a shutterfly book of pictures taken in 2013 – what was columbus’ 80th birthday party – merely eight years ago, so little time, so much time. but the difference – for us – is between 50-something and 60-something. and there is, shall i say, a difference.

our bodies changing-changing. our faces morphing into, well, i hope, slightly more wizened faces with less self-consciousness and more solid aplomb. aging. we read in headlines today, “fillers, procedures are wiping out generations of beauty.” (jamie lee curtis) we stand firmly in the camp of less-is-more. mmm…firmly and, yet, still, a little shakily, noting this youth and body-image-society.

what does this pudgy pigeon think?

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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“hygge”

img_0576in today’s paper there was a brief article about “hygge” (pronounced “hoo-ga”) a danish word that means “the concept of coziness, the absence of worry.” it referred to sitting under blankets, gazing at a fire, watching the snow fall outside, lighting a candle, reading a book…all seem to embrace the moment, not obsessing or feeling guilty about the options we didn’t choose for those moments, but making a deliberate effort to self-care.

we are reading a book together. it is about the quaker way of life. we are only a few chapters in and i am stunned at how it resonates with me…living in the tenets of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality…quite frankly, the bottom line of the very takeaways i feel in any religious organization with which i have participated. i’ve been a minister of music for churches for about 27 years now, on and off through the years.   and the bottom line for me in each of those places, the faith in my heart, is summed up best by the words i just listed. the love of each other in a community joined together by joy and common basic tenets for living.

coziness in the way it was described in the newspaper article speaks to that simplicity. coziness doesn’t come from too much stuff gathered around us…that would seem to beget confusion…instead the quilt, the fire, a simple candle, mother nature…the things that are right there waiting for us…are the things that bring me the most joy.

there is a quilt that came out of my hope chest (how’s that for an old-fashioned term?) that is now gracing our bedcovers. there is something magical about this quilt. we have other quilts as well and have used them, but for some reason, this quilt has brought us sound sleep, deep rest, a warmth that is unparalleled. i believe it came from my sweet momma’s mom – my mama dear, as we used to call her – and it is a combination of

handsewn work and machine seaming. it was created in a simpler time and maybe it’s that history that makes it magical. it is like sleeping at linda and bill’s house…in a quiet room, in an antique bed, under gorgeous old quilts…true indulgence. this old quilt on our bed is one of the joys in my life.  simple stuff.

now, don’t get me wrong. i am one to definitely appreciate the things that this modern world offers us. the posting of this post is evidence of that. last night i was totally reliant on my cellphone as the girl traveled many hours through mountain roads in the cold night. when your (stubborn and fiercely independent) daughter is driving over mountain passes and there is snow and ice, the ability to have her check in with you is priceless – sending a text from points along the way, reassuring me that all was going well. and, like any mom, i would have fought to the carpet had someone taken away my cellphone during that. the moments that i can facetime with the boy or the girl are gifts beyond needing explanation. modern is good.

but i appreciate the balance and i feel, as i am getting older, more a desire for time spent in the simplicities.

i am finnish and norwegian (as well as irish and a little tiny bit of english) in ancestral background. as much as scandinavians sometimes draw lines of distinction, i am wondering if somewhere in there…is some danish….because i have to tell you, HYGGE really makes sense to me.

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