reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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nothing to eat. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

ohmygosh, we love to run errands together. we make lists and double-check them, stare into the pantry and the fridge, caverns of emptiness, glance at recipes we’ve pulled out on the table or on our phones, scavenger hunt for ingredients. and then, after several pit stops and a “do-you-have-your-mask?” we leave.

the roads in our town are torn up. it seems that they are making everything bigger…more lanes, different drainage. it takes a while to get out to the grocery store and, in the process, we lose a little impetus. if the sun is shining, the temptation to go hiking somewhere or to simply take a walk is much more luring.

nevertheless, we persist. the mother-hubbard’s-cupboards situation at home means that there is nothing left to wing for dinner.

i’ve never had a gigantic pantry or walk-in kind of storage, and i’ve never had a ton of excess to spend on filling something like that. so most of the time shopping has been tailored to what-we-need for this period of time. though we belong to costco, they sigh upon our entrance, knowing that we will not get the big spender’s trophy. it’s always been with a bit of wonder to gaze upon someone else’s pantry, brimming with supplies: gigundous boxes of kind bars, twelve packs of facial tissues, organic broth for a lifetime of soup, beverages to quench every thirst. freezers and fridges full of ingredients for meals-ready-to-be-prepared. truly wondrous to me.

so when we travel about, checking off the things on our lists one by one, and arrive home with littlebabyscion, laden with bags and boxes and assorted wrappings, it is actually pretty exciting for us. we carry it all in, slowly put it all away, relishing the bounty in our own home and excited to be about cooking together these great meals we have planned.

and then, since everyone gets ravenous when they shop, we look at each other, hunger pangs obvious in our eyes and we realize…

we are way too exhausted to cook anything at all.

and besides, somehow it feels like there’s nothing to eat.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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dining. [merely-a-thought monday]

we are not fancy-schmancy froo-froo types. we don’t have chandeliers or swagging silk curtains. we don’t have china or sterling silver utensils. we don’t have a matchy-matchy dining room set or linen tablecloths graced with taper candlesticks. but we do have rich dining experiences, nevertheless.

whether at our cozy table in our old kitchen – the square one that my sweet poppo refinished in our basement – the one with a couple white painted legs dogga chewed on as a puppy – the one that i had to wipe clean every week as babycat would rub up against it leaving a dander mark – the one that my babies sat by in their high chairs and that many a cuppajava was sipped….or at the covid table in the sunroom – the one with snakeinthegrass and leticia and nonámē and stubby and boston and, now, charlie – the one with happy lights and tealights – the one looking out back….or at the big table in the dining room – the one with the memories of big gatherings and games played and pass-the-mashed-potatoes and pasta dinners…any table, it doesn’t matter. we sit together and, in our together, are grateful for the chance to prepare our meal and share it.

we choose our plates carefully. it might be a white crock night or a black plate night or maybe kenandloida colorfully-painted ceramic bowls or small plates. the vessel matters. and so do the cloth napkins. no matter what we are having for dinner – vegetable soup or a tagine or plant-based meatloaf – we try to pay attention to dining and not just eating.

we can count the number of times we have been dining inside a restaurant since before the pandemic – on one hand. it has been for very specific reasons – mostly our children, but once, the up-north gang, freezing from winterfest, gathered indoors at a pub to sip drinks and gorge on kettle corn. these times have been rejuvenating and joyfilled, though i have to say, blame-it-on-covid, i usually count the days hence. sigh.

regardless, our two-years-heading-into-the-third have not been without a richness that comes with choosing to make a big deal out of meals. nothing lavish, but still meaning-affluent. nothing opulent, but still flush with deliciousness. nothing fancy-schmancy, nothing froo-froo, but dining. definitely dining.

not just sitting and eating.

*****

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


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not a dress rehearsal. [merely-a-thought monday]

i don’t believe there is much more frustrating than trying to get the attention of someone you love, someone you care about. you keep upping the ante, waving your arms above your head, metaphorically jumping up and down, raising your own bar time and again. just to get their attention. you try more-achievements-for-1000-please, imploring-for-800-please, passive-aggressive-ignoring-for-600-please, lonely-weeping-for-400-please, poor-acting-out-behavior-for-200-please, but none of it seems to work.

i read in the book “the sentimental person’s guide to decluttering” (claire middleton) a few days ago that the author suspects “people who only need a cup, a plate and a blanket are cold-blooded”. i know this was in application to stuff-in-the-house. but i would hasten to add that it applies to relationship as well. some people, in an unplugged, unsentimental-about-other-people way, don’t need any more than a cup, a plate and a blanket. it all seems such a waste of good time.

when my adored big brother died i was pregnant with my second child so i was an adult, 33 years old. though it is just shy of 30 years ago now i still vividly remember the stunning realization that the world kept going anyway. i had lost grandparents; i was a bit familiar with grief. but this was strikingly different. i could not grok how the world kept going without my brother being able to feel it. this sounds like gibberish to some, i suspect, but grief is not linear nor is it rational. it asks questions of our heart and mind and it slays us with feelings of overwhelm at moments we don’t expect. i looked to a gift i was given – a ceramic sign that says “this life is not a dress rehearsal” – and i thought “pay attention!”.

a few days ago i was talking to one of my long-lost-and-now-found-cousins on the phone. she told stories of her mom, my dad’s sister, things i had never heard. i could literally feel my heart swelling as i listened and laughed and i wanted more tales of my sweet dad’s growing-up years. the summer home upstate new york, the rice in the sweater pockets from mice and the snakes in the outhouse, housekeepers i was unaware they had, the mob boss around the corner in the city. my grandpa’s felt business in brooklyn, piecing felt for pianos, of all things…that connection. a little bit of touch-back, an hour of family-i-had-lost-in-the-confusing-shuffle-of-life. building. paying attention. being astonished.

in a world full of intricacies and details and deadlines and accomplishment and competition and agenda, to stop and pay attention is sometimes a challenge.

to marvel at the song of birds at dawn, to watch the east sky change in answer to the western sunset, to taste the first sip of coffee in early morning, to stare wide-eyed at your grown children…astonishment in exponential depth.

to tell stories of life’s moments, the tiny ones, the top rung ones, the puddle-on-the-floor ones…is exponential sharing of living.

to pay attention to the other, really pay attention – without prompt and without reward – is exponential love.

*****

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


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kindred. [k.s. friday]

you and i are kindred, you know. though we have been individually sensitive to temperature and environmental pressure and have fallen to the ground at different speeds, in different ways, in different shapes, our edges dissimilar, we are kindred. for even though “to have two snow crystals or flakes with the same history of development is virtually impossible” (loc.gov), we are related. there has been one instance – one – of identical found. nancy knight, a scientist in boulder, colorado, found two identical snowflakes from a snowstorm in wisconsin in 1988. it took a powerful microscope and earned space in the guiness book of world records, next to the fastest time to drink a capri sun and the fastest genetic diagnoses and decoding for infants through dna sequencing.

the flakes fell on the icy wood deck and it was as if i could momentarily see each of them, separate from each other. it was not the mob scene of a drift nor the muddy puddle of slush. instead, each individual crystal softly landed and placed itself so that i might notice. and, though i cognitively realize that they are all different, i could only marvel at their relatedness in that difference, the sameness.

we are kindred spirits, you and i. we have the six sides of a snowflake, the perfection of crystallized water, the discrete originality. but we are not sole on this earth. we are part of the flakes that fall on the icy deck. we are able to be seen. we are singular. we are particular. we are an entity upon ourselves.

yet our uniqueness does not need separate us. instead, in the way that snowflakes fall and cluster, ice strands tangling, crystal needles wrapping into each other, we are together. we are the flakes of snow, kindred spirits of beautiful, fallen from the sky to glimmer – apart, together – in the sun for moments, days, years.

it does not matter that we are different. what matters is that we are the same. kindred.

*****

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

KINDRED SPIRITS…AWAY ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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spinach leaves and shredded parmesan. [merely-a-thought monday]

a couple suggestions and, now, i owe her. they make all the difference. she, in some amazingly intuitive way, knows how to lift dinners, no matter the plate, to splendid.

leaves of spinach quietly waiting in a bowl for ladles of homemade chicken soup. and then, shredded – not grated – parmesan dresses it off. if soup can be called glorious, this fits the adjective.

in this time of pandemic – this never-ending-we’ve-never-done-this-before-therefore-we-all-need-some-grace-two-years – we are cooking to maintain sanity. and i have to agree with elsa (whose auto-biography “shocking life” i now want to read) that “eating well gives a spectacular joy to life.” though these two years have not been lavish in expensive foods for us, they have been rich in the experience of cooking and dining together on meals we have mutually prepared.

we love to cook together. and, lucky for me, david loves to chop. i can line up a festival of ingredients to be prepped and he, the mighty sous chef, takes them on willingly and, really, with a little bit of glee. that makes my cooking a wee bit like one of those shows where all the ingredients are in tiny and big bowls, measured and ready. we don’t have swanky pots and pans, but we have an abundance of zeal and, let me tell you, when we are hungry we are daaang focused.

if we feel we can do nothing else – no indoor restaurants, no pubs, no gatherings, no potlucks – then we can invest in cooking for each other or for ourselves. we can honor good food, plain or fancy-schmancy, placed in bowls or on plates, plain or fancy-schmancy, and time taken to savor and be grateful for being fortunate enough to sit at a table and eat.

it’s a bounty of goodness.

and spectacular joy.

*****

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


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unfinished. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

while she explained to me the presence of the cross on the back of the donkey, he explained to david how he installed the sun-seeking solar panel in the barnyard. both exist here. the old world donkey and the twenty-first century solar panel. together.

he told us that they were about our age when they started to make plans for next steps. they sorted and listed and researched and made decisions for their next phase, moving to acreage further south – in a bit more temperate clime – closer to some family, out in the woods with ridges and ravines, living their dreams for the next of life. “you should start thinking about that now,” he encouraged us. he’s right. we think about it all the time.

“the world never comes at you all at once,” john o’donohue wrote. “you are not simply here. neither are you definitively and forever ‘you’.” … “no person is a finished thing.”

things you can count on. change and change and change.

we know change is imminent. and change has already arrived. and we have exited change, taken the doorway that reads “next”. and we can see more doors and more doors. they are a little further away, like trail markers, choices to be mapped, routes to follow, narratives with gaps to fill in.

maybe a coupla donkeys, a coupla horses, dogdog, mountains, cherry tomato plants, and trees. our lives will evolve.

in our mind’s eye, we paint ourselves older – hopefully wiser, but i know there’s no guarantee of that. we paint the hue of early morning sunrises over peaks near and far. we paint old porches and adirondack chairs. less stuff and more time. old world and new world. much like now, we paint in mugs of coffee and glasses of wine bookending the day. we paint in people we love. we paint in hiking and writing and new recipes and doing the art we do. it’s unfinished, this canvas.

life is not a paint-by-number. and solar panels and donkeys co-exist in barnyards. and we are not definitively any particular colors in any particular place doing any particular thing. we are made of dreams and change.

*****

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


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in service. [d.r. thursday]

in much the same way i draw sunrises over mountains, the boardwalk turned ninety degrees on a dime, with meticulously pieced craftwork, through the swampy area and across, back to the dirt trail.

we pondered how long it took volunteers to build this boardwalk…likely out in hot summer sun, working to span the distance between solid earth trails and protect the vegetation and water below. when you are out hiking in the middle of nowhere and come upon a boardwalk or a little bridge or, remotely, a bench, it is a reminder that you are not stepping there first and you are not stepping there alone.

time and again we watch backpackers like joey coconato or the wanderwomen forge streams and rivers. we marvel as they step carefully across, deliberately placing their feet with caution. occasionally, there is an unexpected suspension bridge or a big placed-log that helps. trail magic is not just water bottles and snickers bars. it’s the work that someone has done before you. someone who really cares. in this case, early-on-in-the-hike of pink-bed-trail, those someones built this boardwalk. in service.

extreme wind had blown down many trees on our trail along the des plaines. some of them stretched across our pathway and we climbed our way over them. we know the next time out they will be moved, for this trail is well taken care of. the work of those tending it is to make hiking possible for the rest of us. in service.

the winter show will be pulled down on january 9. artists of various medium brought their work to be juried into the gallery space on the lake. they chose pieces they felt were relatable, pieces that would hang well, would absorb and reflect light as it streamed through big windows. a lot of people went to the opening, including us, with masks. and then the crowds left and the art center had regular hours through the holiday, inviting patrons in to view art and trees lit with the season. we’ll pick up the painting next week, unless there is an offer on it. the curator will breathe and design the next show. and people will have been moved by acrylic and clay, watercolor and fibre. sun will light the wood floors and curl around dark corners and artists will create at home for the next time, the next chance to elicit the silent conversation between viewer and artwork. in service.

we watched carole king and james taylor in concert sunday night. it was two hours of bliss. easily two of the most talented songwriters of all time, their camaraderie is exquisite and the music carried us both back. at one point in the airing, there was a moment that carole shared thoughts about performing. she spoke about bringing music to others as her job, and she continued that it wasn’t for herself that she writes, plays, performs. songwriters, composers, performing artists. connecting to hearts of people, challenging them, reassuring them, moving them. in service.

a bridge spanning a raging whitewater river in the middle of nowhere…is it appreciated? a boardwalk built on a trail in the middle of somewhere…does it make a difference? a cleared path…is there gratitude? a painting that hangs with no viewers…is it seen? a piece of music with no audience…does it reveal its magic?

all ready and waiting.

never really first. never really alone.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY


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on the front porch. [two artists tuesday]

an older gent, bearded and white-haired, he has lugged a lighweight rocking chair out his front door to sit in the sun and watch the traffic go by. we are across, on the front porch of this sweet house in this hallmark mountain town, doing much the same, chatting with people as they pass by.

each day now we’ve waved at the man-wearing-the-buffalo-plaid-shirt across the street, called over greetings. he holds up his hand in “love ya” sign language; we return the same. sipping coffee in the morning in bag chairs and tipping a glass of wine in the evening at our pop-up-dinner table. the luminaria are lit and i know my mom and dad – in a place where luminaria must always be lit – are close by, watching also.

we walked later at night on christmas, after arriving and unpacking littlebabyscion, after setting up our tiny tree with seed lights and draping a strand of happy lights over a cabinet and lighting the cypress-pine and balsam candles, after snack-time-happy-hour and before making dinner.

the middle of town is close by. in front yards on our walking-way there are posses of snowmen and herds of deer and the trees along the sidewalks of this tiny bustling place are wrapped in lights. we slow and look in every store window. christmas trees and stars and wreaths and snowflakes, santa stuck in a chimney and candy canes and a big town tree in the center at the top of the hill where, if you pause in the middle of the street while crossing, you can see a big range of mountains as you look north.

it was enchanting. no need to walk fast, we strolled the sidewalks and absorbed the spirit. different than any other christmas, it was just us. but this little town and these mountains embraced us and we immersed in it to help holiday wistfulness.

we went back into town in the daytime and wandered the shops. we found texturally-delicious cloth napkins to add to our collection and i imagine next week – or maybe this weekend – we’ll use those and they’ll bring us back here, to this place and to the peace we have felt here.

and the man with big metal sasquatch figures and lots of white christmas lights will likely sit outside in his rocking chair just off his front stoop again today. it will be unseasonable, another beautiful day, the sun over the mountain warm on his face.

we wonder if he’ll miss us.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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a certain age. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

“we’re of a certain age,” 20 said. yeah, yeah. a certain age. what’s that supposed to mean? is that a negative? is that a positive? is that demeaning? is that reassuring? what IS that?

truth is, we ARE of a certain age and there’s nothing to do but embrace it. there ain’t no goin’ back, as they say.

because of social media, in the last decade or so i have watched my high school classmates, previous teachers, people i will likely never see again in-real-life, people i know kinda well, people i hardly know and people i know up-closer-and-much-more-personally change jobs, quit jobs, retire, go on cruises, travel to europe, take roadtrips, go camping, climb mountains, lay on the beach, vacation with their families, witness their children’s weddings, sadly announce losses of parents and loved ones, ecstatically have grandchildren, immerse themselves at disney, have surgery, sip at wineries, sip at pubs, sip at bars, sip outside, get dogs, get cats, lose old dogs, lose old cats, redecorate, remodel, relocate, buy new cars, build new decks, start new hobbies, read old books, read new books, write books, watch butterflies, study birds, make or eat breakfast, make or eat brunch, make or eat lunch, make or eat dinner, eat happy hour food, drink wine, drink fancy-drinks, drink smoothies with alfalfa sprouts, exercise at gyms, exercise at home, exercise online, blow off exercising to eat chocolate, attend funerals, sit at starbucks, sit at independent coffee houses, dine at restaurants, dine at bistros, dine al fresco, show off new necklaces and new boots, new diamonds and new hairdos, post words of wisdom spoken by maya or mahatma or theresa, share hilarious memes, push back with political viewpoints, say really smart things, say really stupid things. and . . . age.

i’ve watched and i’ve watched and i’ve watched.

and my conclusion?

as i look in the mirror and my certain age stares back, it warms my heart to see we’re all in this getting-older-thing together. we are not alone.

how refreshing.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com