reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the window of magic. [two artists tuesday]

the stairs in our home go straight up a few steps, turn 90 degrees to the left and then another 90 degrees to the left before the last few to the landing. if you turn left again you will see straight into the treetops through the office window, will pass the bathroom, and will head down a short hall to our daughter’s room. if you turn right at the landing you walk into our son’s room.

there’s a big window in his room ahead of you and it faces north. it is the window of magic. for if the circumstances are just right and the frost gathers and holds hands with the sun, this is where the crystals are found. and they are divine.

that day, in every corner, from every angle, the ice shimmered, an evanescent presence that would disappear as the window warmed. the ephemeral tiny expressions of frozen wouldn’t last. not yet. it is still fall and there will be warmer days still.

but for right then, to stand and gaze at the strands and shards and bubbly droplets is to take part in the very moment, that very moment of cold. it was to acknowledge it. and to recognize its transient beauty.

a long while ago i was gifted a necklace with a silver snowflake charm. in the tiny box was printed a brief message, “every snowflake is unique; it’s true. each one’s special, just like you.” not the thought-provoking words of mary oliver or john o’donohue, but a simple reminder of unrepeatable gorgeousness, in words anyone can grok.

these last days have been harder, a holiday with empty chairs. we are adults now and we know that this is the way of life. john pavlovitz writes, “in this season each of us learns to have fellowship with sadness, to celebrate accompanied by sorrow. this is the paradox of loving and being wounded simultaneously.”

we walked on the trail and spoke of each member of our family. we each spoke a gratitude for each person, each step on the trail punctuated by a story or some enlightenment. we laughed and i wondered what gratitude would be uttered for us, hoping that words would not be difficult for the utterer to find. our thanksgiving was bookended with early morning pumpkin pie and full bellies of mashed potatoes at day’s end. in the middle was appreciation for the people we love.

it is easy to see the cold, the long winter ahead, the empty chairs. they are apparent and they can be brutal.

it is harder to walk, peer through the window, and see the crystals and their exquisite – even if brief – magical uniqueness.

*****

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the stars are watching. [k.s. friday]

littlebabyscion is ready. i washed it and vacuumed it and wiped out the inside, reorganizing its small storage spaces, checking to make sure the necessities were there. we travel always with a small tool kit, duct tape (this is from experience), twist ties, rubber bands of all sizes and a big maglite flashlight. light is always good on a dark highway, but the light was barely discernible when i checked it, so i changed the batteries and put extras in a small bag that also has jumper cables and a quart of oil, things we have determined to be practical. in the winter there are a few additions, a few things that my sweet poppo always made sure i carried along. but it’s still late summer, so the extender snow brush/scraper can hang in the garage just a bit longer and the kitty litter doesn’t need to come along. littlebabyscion is ready to go to the shop today and come home later with a muffler that doesn’t make noise. (to muffle: to make quieter and more difficult to hear; muffler: a device fixed to the exhaust of a motor vehicle to reduce engine noise.) it waits patiently in the driveway until The Time.

the people who know – like our mechanic, the exhaust system shop, our plumber, our electrician, the drain experts, tree services, gardening wizards, the company we will choose to be our mason – they are like lights in the darkness. along with their expertise and the wisdom of friends who have beentheredonethat we survive the normal – and not-so-normal – challenges of home and car ownership. it would seem rare – a person without some sort of concentric circle of informants surrounding them in problem-solving and decision-making. asking questions, asking for advice, seeking information are the basis for learning and, it seems, every day is an opportunity for that. (and we haven’t even mentioned the whole changing-bodies piece of this life-thing.)

we stood outside on the deck, the only light from a few torches and the bonfire across the yard; we gazed at the sky. it seemed thousands of stars gazed back at us. the james webb telescope has delivered photographs of space back to us here on this planet, a place that feels big but is merely tiny in the vast. seeing billions and billions of light years away, i read that the webb captures not just the birth of stars but, also, their last dances. it is hard to wrap your head around looking back in time in such a profound way. the light goes on and on. and on.

we each build a framework around ourselves. none of us exists without the other, really. at a time when our purple-mountain-majesty-land continues to be divided and people fight for control and power and are practicing efforts serving to undermine, marginalize, divide further, it would seem prudent to remember the tiny-in-vast. transience.

we can be the light for each other…in so many ways. or we can snuff it out and try to go on without. the stars are watching.

always prepared, always planning ahead for possible big bangs, my poppo would vote for light.

*****

TRANSIENCE from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

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round and round. [two artists tuesday]

and the seasons they go round and round
and the painted ponies go up and down
we’re captive on the carousel of time
we can’t return we can only look
behind from where we came
and go round and round and round
in the circle game
” (joni mitchell)

from the edge of the trail it seemed we stood in three seasons. with warm sun on our faces and verdant grasses poking through the golds of autumn aspen leaves, the snow sought refuge in the shade. three seasons. concurrent.

as we stood there, in the middle of the mountain trail, it all swirled together – then, now, next. a kaleidoscope of color, of emotions, of moments. the tiniest of tiny in a vast universe, all else suddenly became distant.

we lingered in the whirl of shifting seasons, viscerally aware of our breathing and the gravity that was holding us still. it was an eddy of every-thing: old wrinkled leaves of regret, fading transient dreams, life-giving air carrying us into the next minute, a metamorphosis of time. the ponies on the carousel kept moving round and round and we paused, our feet in the dirt, sensing the circle encapsulating us, giving us pause.

we stayed there a long time, the scent of decaying leaves in the woods, the sound of a rushing mountain stream, the breeze rustling past us, our faces warmed. for these moments, in the middle of the middle, all the worries, all the fears, all the unease, dropped off from our shoulders. the concurrence whispered to us, “and the seasons they go round and round.”

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in the middle and in the end. [k.s. friday]

were there nothing else to do, no other responsibilities, no outstanding work or chores, no cleaning or laundry or errands, no bills to pay, calls to make, jobs to seek, piles to clear, messes to sort, i could sit and stare at a fire for hours.

it’s easier to evade the thoughts that permeate your worried mind with the heat of fire on your face. it’s easier to stop strategizing around, through, beyond while watching the dance of contained flames. it’s easier to be lulled into all-is-well thinking, sinking into the adirondack chair, moonlight on your brow.

ephemeral moments – the good ones and the bad ones – slip by, each temporary, each a transitory arc, evaporating, evaporating.

yet, our eagle-focus on certain moments, certain actions, certain words, certain emotions, batters us with living, re-living, re-living, re-living.

we obsess. and in a time when there is so much to obsess about, it is none too easy to avoid.

the fire burns through the wood, despite its flammability. it does not choose only wood that is most flammable. with all the different wood in the firepit, it ignites, turning all into ash, intangible and evanescent.

we might do well to toss moments these days into a great cauldron, touch a match to it and light it. perhaps out of that might arise a bit of wisdom, a bit of certainty in the uncertainty, a bit of comfort. maybe living in the recognition it will vaporize would remind us of transience, the impermanence of it all, the pro tempore of any given heated moment, ultimately, the importance of lingering in any goodness we experience, of actually being goodness.

perhaps we should prioritize staring at the firepit. it may serve as a gentle reminder.

in the middle the fire is hot. in the end ash will be ash.

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TRANSIENCE from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood


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quarter rest. and the beat goes on. [k.s. friday]

quarter rest

quarter rest.  one beat of silence.

with these broken wrists i have moved from a whole rest to a quarter rest.  i have made progress playing my piano and my broken-wrists have told me when to be silent.  in the silence the earth keeps spinning, we trek around the sun, everything keeps keeping on.  but for a moment, i rest.

we are each granted rests upon entrance into this orchestra-of-earth.  sometimes they are chosen, sometimes they are not.  always they are necessary.  it is in your quiet that others make noise, that others speak, that other timbres color the muted.  the hush is yours to own; the rest is yours to take.  the silence both sometimes frighteningly deafening and sometimes a grand relief.  the metronome really never stops.

(a reprise of paragraphs from 8.13.2015 post): at 1am, we walked to the lakefront. away from as many lights as we could get away from, we laid on some old steps, bricks and mortar digging into our backs so that we could gaze straight up, watching the night sky for the meteor shower.

the streaks of white light across navyblueblack make us draw in our breath. i’m wondering how far away this meteor is…how it is that we, here on earth, can see this amazing sight. such a big sky. such tiny bodies in contrast lying on the ground, waiting for the symphony to start, waiting for the downbeat, the symphony that has been continuously playing, the downbeat lost in centuries upon centuries of time gone by. like any good piece of music, it’s the rests in-between the notes, the rests in-between the meteorstreaks, that build the anticipation, that create the emotionflow, that bring tears to your eyes. each burst, each streak of whitelight is a miracle, a tiny moment exploding in time, so far away, in vast vastness.

time stretches out in front of us. and behind us. we are tiny and we are big. we gather in the moments, we breathe them, we rejoice, we worry, we ponder, we move. there is no downbeat and the symphony is already playing, has been playing and will continue to play. always. it is magical. and it is vast.

and the beat goes on.

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TRANSIENCE from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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part of the wind. [k.s. friday]

part of the wind songbox copy

with the sun not yet up over the farmlands, the hot air balloon lifted.  we slowly sailed over fields and stands of trees, watching the world wake up.  as the sun rose over the horizon, we could hear what was going on below us.  we weren’t that high up and any conversation in backyards and barns, on patios and decks or driveways was easy to hear.  we weren’t intentionally eavesdropping; you just can’t help but hear clearly up there in the wind.  it’s an amazing vantage point floating low in the sky, sharing the sunrise with the earth, an endless horizon.  a little wary, i had asked the pilot if he had any anti-motion apothecary suggestions.   he responded by telling me that none are needed, that you are “part of the wind.”  we were.  we are.  part of the wind.

when we go antiquing and wander around in vast collections of other people’s lives, we pass by paintings on the walls and in stacks against cabinets, displayed beautifully and piled haphazardly.  we stand in front of bins full of records and 45’s, stacks of CDs not even alphabetized, the vinyl and polycarbonate/aluminum blend all beckoning us to sort through and remember songs or moments in time.  and we, artists of the canvas and of song, draw in our breath.  it’s an amazing vantage point floating here in time, sharing this day with the earth, contemplating.

and we wonder if this is where all of our paintings and cds will end up one day…in an antique shop where browsers will pass by, exclaiming, “wow!  look at all those paintings!” or “wow!  look at all those cds!”  we wonder if they will stop, page through, recognize a track or two, an image or two, or if they will be curious or spellbound and buy something to bring home.  perhaps we will remain part of the stacks, the bins, ever-growing, the horizon endless.

either way, we are part of the wind.

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PART OF THE WIND from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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transience. [k.s. friday]

TRANSIENCE songbox copy

“…dawn turns to daylight. to dusk. to full darkness. always to dawn again…” (liner notes)

brad's snowman

brad built a snowman in the woods while we were snowshoeing.  with a nod to our wit and creative pet-names, he cleverly named it “snowman-snowman”.  he was a charming snowman and we lingered by him for a bit, all chatting in the quiet woods.  because he is, well, a snowman, we left him behind as we continued on the trails.

yesterday we went back to the woods.  there was still snow, even more in some places.  but when we got to the spot where the trails split off, i, sadly, saw that snowman-snowman was no longer there.  i didn’t talk about it.  the magic of snowman-snowman was still in the air despite his absence on the trail.

we hiked a bit farther into the woods and when we stopped for a moment, i started packing together some snow.  it was that really-good-packing-snow, so “valentino” came together easily.  we searched for his eyes and the perfect nose, tucked a feather-leaf in his ‘cap’ and fell in love with our little snowman.  his magic was instant.

our snowman

transient.  all daylight.  all snowmen.  all of us.  life.  it’s a minor key.  all-consumingly-beautiful.  gut-wrenchingly-fleeting.  every reason to revel in every ray of sun, build a snowman, embrace those you love, bravely live every moment.  even if our footprints aren’t still visible, our magic stays in the air.

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anniversary haiku copy

TRANSIENCE from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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frog.

photo-1we have a frog! this sweet green quiet sitting-on-one-of-the-small-boulders-on-the-edge-of-the-pond little creature makes us so happy.

i was summoned from the backyard, “k.dot, quick! hurry!” i ran outside to stand at the edge of the little pond. “we have a frog!” he said. i looked down and this beautiful creature was sunning himself on a rock.

now, having a frog in our pond is no small feat. although lake michigan is a block away, there aren’t frogs running amuck in the yards close by. two years ago one other frog visited here. but this frog, well, it couldn’t be better timed.

we stayed at my sweet momma’s house many times over the last two years. she was either in her assisted living facility or rehab, or even the hospital. there was little there in the way of furniture or accouterments. we loved the simplicity, the two bag-chairs and the TV trays we used for every meal and the times we spent with coffee or wine in the lanai, pondering life and searching for answers for my momma. when a frog literally jumped out of the toilet in her small bathroom, its pale color giving away that it had spent a long time in the plumbing pipes, we were shocked into looking up what it might mean to have a frog show up. the frog is indicative of “the transient nature of our lives. a symbol of transition and transformation, it supports us in times of change…it connects us with the world of emotions, the process of cleansing and rebirth, abundance and metamorphosis.”

helen, who is infinitely wise, told us over hot coffee and soup one cold day last year that having a frog show up in your life is even more meaningful. “it’s not just a frog”, she told us. “it’s a reminder.” a reminder of what, we asked? “frog is a reminder to ‘fully rely on God’,” she explained.

FullyRelyOnGod. FROG. frog.

ahhhh.

thank you, little frog, for the reminder. you are so welcome here.


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magical – this tiny. this vast.

raw-3at 1am, we walked to the lakefront. away from as many lights as we could get away from, we laid on some old steps, bricks and mortar digging into our backs so that we could gaze straight up, watching the night sky for the meteor shower. the late air was cool, gentle breezes sneaking past us in our vigil. the meteor shower information site said that at 1am cst we would be able to see 50-100 meteors an hour, shooting across the night sky. now, how they know this is a scientific study that i am not familiar with. but it is magical. and it is vast.

the streaks of white light across navyblueblack make us draw in our breath. i’m wondering how far away this meteor is…how it is that we, here on earth, can see this amazing sight. such a big sky. such tiny bodies in contrast lying on the ground, waiting for the symphony to start, waiting for the downbeat, the symphony that has been continuously playing, the downbeat lost in centuries upon centuries of time gone by. like any good piece of music, it’s the rests in between the notes, the rests in between the meteorstreaks, that build the anticipation, that create the emotionflow, that bring tears to your eyes. each burst, each streak, of whitelight was a miracle, a tiny moment exploding in time, so far away, in vast vastness.

this morning over coffee on the deck i watched a bumblebee fly to the big jar of sunflowers on the table. photoit, with seemingly intentional purpose, landed on the sunflower’s large head. i studied this bumblebee and, as i did, it occurred to me that it, too, was a tiny being in the middle of its own universe. that sunflower, i come to learn, is not just one flower. instead, it is composed of a mass of hundreds of flowers, all growing individually and from where each sunflower seed will originate. the yellow rays of petals are there to protect the interior of the sunflower. the sunflower, before blooming, will track the sun through the day, leaning in to garner its energy, intent on its own purpose in its own universe. it is, indeed, its own little universe, offering nutrients and life to that very bumblebee, who pollinates the flowers within the flower…and the circle goes on. looking even closer, i could see small quarter-inch-inchworms inching their way around the brown center of the flower(s).   for that quarter-inch-inchworm this big brown field was such a big sky, and its tiny body was in great contrast. magical. vast.

time stretches out in front of us. and behind us. we are tiny and we are big. we gather in the moments, we breathe them, we rejoice, we worry, we ponder, we move. there is no downbeat and the symphony is already playing, has been playing and will continue to play. always. it is magical. and it is vast.vast tiny

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