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the path back is the path forward


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the air of the complicit. [merely-a-thought monday]

the snow was untouched. our steps, way over our boots, made the first tracks and it’s visible in the photograph where we chose different paths, where we broke off and went different ways. across the snowy field we trod, heading north, heading south. our tracks would not cross again unless we turned, faced and walked toward each other. otherwise, they would not. a snow-simple illustration of division, an illustration of disunity, of not walking together, of estrangement.

having just passed by the second senate impeachment trial for the person who used to be the president of this country, no far-reach into the recesses is necessary to exemplify this quote or this photograph. without getting into the nitty-gritty details, and gritty they are, the insurrection at the capitol was ghastly. but the incitement of the fervor and the lack of responsibility placed upon the powerful inciters was egregious. the positioning of those grasping onto their jobs rather than their integrity was appalling yet predictable. the snowfield was divided; a chasm of incoherent morality between the tracks of those who walk in capitol halls. the evil remains, sticking to the floor, the walls, the offices, the grand rooms…in all the places that people-who-did-nothing occupy, in the air of the complicit.

momma would say, “speak up!” and speak up i did.

in the late 70s i spoke up. there was a man, a leader, who was sexually abusing young women in my town, me included. i spoke up. i spoke out. i reported it to the people-in-charge, to the parents of these young girls, to the authorities. it was a different time for victims of molestation and it is revolting that this man was never held responsible for the way he changed each life including mine, a forever arc of impact. though his hideous actions remain unpunished, and his threats on my life back then were terrifying, it would seem that at least some of the evil moved on in the rush of air that speaking up provides. impacted forever but not silent, not in dark shadows of aloneness. you simply cannot watch someone do evil and do nothing about it. even when you are in some way imperiled. even when it’s scary.

momma said, “speak up!” and speak up i do.

and i wonder. i wonder about people who don’t, who watch evil and do nothing about it, who hunker down and just mind their own business, who figure that anything that doesn’t directly affect them doesn’t really matter, who get lost somewhere in the chasm of incoherence. those not willing to ask questions, not willing to speak up, to speak out, to speak for, to speak against. or, worse yet, those who are propelling falsehoods further into the world, never pondering their actions or the actions of leadership, never measuring them against truth. i wonder what they would do were they to personally feel the assault of evil – anywhere on the spectrum of questionable to inappropriate to shockingly grievous. i wonder why they jump on unlabeled bandwagons to mystery destinations alongside people-with-authority-but-without-veracity, people-with-authority-but-without-moral-compass, people-with-authority-and-with-unchecked-personal-agenda.

i wonder why they trek through the snow, never turning to face in, never trying to come together, to challenge evil, to reconcile, to unify.

*****

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


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agnes, mom, dad and dogdog. [d.r. thursday]

“whenever i feel afraid i hold my head erect and whistle a happy tune so no one will suspect i’m afraid.” the tune from the king and i has gone through my head more than once in my life. the feel-good song you carry with you can make a difference (this is directed to our jaded babycat).

we have watched national geographic’s life below zero for a few years now. it’s not hard to develop “relationship” with the people on the show, especially now, in times of pandemic when you see few others. the hailstone family is based in noorvik, alaska. it’s brutally cold, removed and not an easy place to live. agnes hailstone, the 40-something matriarch, has a can-do attitude. the striking thing about this family is their positivity. what they are like off-screen is of question, but on-screen they are encouraging, supportive of each other, never undercut what the other is doing, and always have a more positive zeal than i ever could muster out on the negative-temperatured tundra in dim light and a freezing-wind stormy day on a snowmobile going 40mph for miles and miles across a frozen lake in search of a fish or maybe two from a tiny augured ice hole. “you can do things happy or sad or mad,” agnes said on a recent show, “but it’s best to just do things happy.” she adapts to new challenges, weird-stuff-that-happens, and seasonally-repeating obstacles as they arise and has passed her can-do-ness on to her children, her grandchildren, her spouse. she doesn’t give up. she is pretty heroic in my book. she must have bobby mcferrin humming in her head, “don’t worry. be happy.”

it’s impossible to not dance when you hear black eyed peas’ “i gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night”. it’s not likely you can resist with james brown’s “i feel good” or john denver’s “sunshine on my shoulders makes me happeeee.” it’s without question that “here comes the sun, dootin doo doo” easily elicits you singing along the famous line “and i say, it’s all right!”

but what about in the quiet? what about when all is silent, when all lyrics have slipped from your ready grasp, when you can’t think of a song to save your life, as the expression goes? then what? what do you draw from?

i suppose that’s the reason my sweet momma started the day by saying “good morning, merry sunshine.” or why my sweet dad would look at things that were challenging and simply say, “well, how do you like them apples?” after living lives full of challenge and the roller coaster of emotional heave-hoes, they chose to greet the world in each of their experiences with positivity. hearing my dad’s whistling told me everything i needed to know – they were ok in the world, no matter what. they chose it.

agnes hailstone and my mom and dad would like each other. and dogdog. dogdog too.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

AT THE DOOR ©️ 2017 david robinson, kerri sherwood


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tacet root vegetables. [k.s. friday]

ritenuto: an abrupt slowing down of tempo

tacet: silence of instrument

fermata: pause of unspecified time

and, suddenly, a prolonged tacet. no notes. no instrumentation. no expression markings. no crescendos or decrescendos. just silence. the baton is laid down. there is no beat pick-up. there is no rest. it is silence. issued. written in the music. a ritenuto – screeching to slow, a subito tacet. suddenly still.

the reassurances are generous, heartfelt. they are reflexes, like putting out your hand when you fall. they are meant to help in the silence, in the sudden slowdown, the sudden stop, the fermata holding the tacet. they make my heart quiver, these well wishes. but they don’t change the composer’s notes in the music: the ritenuto. the tacet. the fermata. those are printed in the music; those are decreed. they are unquestionable, immovable, indisputable, final.

i was voted off the island, in “survivor” talk. it was not an island, but, nevertheless, i am not a survivor. not there, anyway. i am forever tacet-ed there. the fermata above my tacet-ed head reminds me.

it, too, reminds me to be still. to step lightly. to be gentle with myself. i run the scores in my head – scores of scores in that place. i emoted each expression marking, each twist of the music, each gradual shaping, each change of tempo, of timbre, of voice.

and now.

i opened this book randomly, hoping to arrive on a page that might offer me wisdom. i read: “upheavals in life are often times when the soul has become too smothered; it needs to push through the layers of surface under which it is buried….it reminds us that we are children of the eternal and our time on earth is meant to be a pilgrimage of growth and creativity.” (john o’donohue)

it doesn’t feel like a platitude. i’ve read it over and over and over again now since the morning i was fired. i wonder, each day, when the baton will be lifted, when the pick-up beat will come. i remember the all-engulfing power of change works both ways – to decimate and to breathe new life. i – try – to trust the dusty trail i am reluctantly set upon.

upheaval. sudden arrival at prolonged silence. not much more upheaval for an artist than silence. yet, as i sit in this silence, deemed as fitting by the composer, i feel the root-vegetable-of-my-soul gathering energy. with no idea and no preconception, i await as it will push through the earth one day, steeped in nutrients, rooted in rich soil.

my sweet momma said, “live life, my sweet potato.” oh wise woman, you must have known.

read DAVID’s thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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incessant. my sweet momma. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

good morning sunshine

she was incessant.  every morning she greeted me with the words, “good morning sunshine.”  rain, sleet, snow or ice – none would dampen her good-morning-spirit.  a new day, a new beginning, another chance.

my parents weren’t complicated people.  they grew up with great-depression-survival parents.  they were married and almost immediately separated by the second world war, by my dad’s missing-in-action status, by his time as a prisoner-of-war and, thus, they navigated the loss of their first daughter on two continents, my mom without knowledge of my dad’s whereabouts.  they processed-without-processing the end of the war and my dad’s escape and return home to struggle through post-war times.  they had two more children, another girl and a boy and began to raise a family on long island in a cape cod house with a chainlink fence and a dachshund.  after i was born they moved to the house i grew up in, the only house i remember without looking at old photographs.  we had a single driveway with a grass strip in the middle.  some neighbors had solid concrete or asphalt driveways, no grass strip, and even as a child, i suspected this meant something.  they were thrifty and conserving.

my parents weren’t hip.  through the rebellious 60s and mod 70s they raised me, older than most of my friends’ parents by at least a decade or more.  i listened to jim nabors and doris day and robert goulet in the house, herb alpert and the tijuana brass and frank sinatra on the stereo and the old wgsn on the radio on top of the refrigerator, while friends were hearing their moms sing to carole king and simon and garfunkel crooned in their kitchens, the mamas and the papas and herman’s hermits in the family rooms.  my dad would whistle for hours; hearing anyone whistling now feels like a hug from him.

my parents weren’t frivolous.  my dad would turn boxes inside out to repurpose them.  my mom would assign him tasks first in in his basement workshop and, later, his garage workshop, giving him something to focus on.  he was always rube-goldberg-ing everything; he could make or fix anything.  they didn’t splurge on stuff, well, until they discovered ikea.  after years and years and years of exclusive use, the aluminum colander they gave to me (and after a couple more decades and the loss of a foot, i finally retired) is likely 70 years old.

my parents weren’t problem-obsessive.  my mom would do laundry, especially later in life.  i think it centered her.  the simple task of cleaning a garment or bath towel and putting it away felt grounding; i have learned this from her and you will find me scouring the house for laundry items in times of stress.  they were reasonable and rational; nothing needed be too complex.

but they were loving and encouraging and accepting.  i could tease or cajole my dad into doing almost anything.  and, when my dad’s reaction to a circumstance was more impatient, my mom would listen, listen, listen.  she would admonish him, “Erling!” she’d hammer.

simple.  no fancy titles.  no wildly exotic trips.  no fancy foods.  only one fancy car to try-on-for-size.  no fancy clothes or shoes. simple furnishings, treasured mementos.

simple.  no emmys, oscars, grammys.   no nobel peace prize.  hardworking and uncomplaining.  a lot of volunteering.  a jewelry store failure in early days of big box stores.  early retirement and a move-down-I95 south.  self-admonishments to do-the-photo-albums and clean-out-the-file-cabinets.

simple.  a dedication to handyman magazine, national geographic, jigsaw puzzles, crytoquotes and crosswords.  tomato plants and hosta.  forsythia and four-o-clocks that ran along the whole side of the house.  succulents and bougainvillea.  harlequin romance novels and old doris day/rock hudson movies.  bird-watching and klondike bars.  feeding their family.  entertaining their friends.

simple.  times around the table coffee-sitting.  long conversations on the couch.  egg mc-arnsons or waffles and ice cream on sunday mornings.  time on the stoop and in the lanai, just talking.  time.  spending time.

she was incessant.  her joy at the day, her exuberance, her kindness, her piercing eyes, her absolute, uncompromised, unconditional love.

i woke today thinking about this day five years ago today, when i was not physically there to hold her hand as she passed from this life to another plane.  we were on the way, driving there, on an interstate when we found out.  in el paso, illinois.  we pulled off and found a park not far from the highway.  we walked and walked and walked, trying to process.  i have no doubt that she knew i was right there with her, always, and how much i love her.

life will never be the same without my sweet momma on this earth.  ever.  i can only hope that in some way, as a new day dawns and i think to myself, “good morning sunshine,” that i will be somewhat like her.  somewhat as incessant.

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

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assumptions. [d.r. thursday]

assumeawe WITH EYES jpeg copy

the sun lights our room early in the morning.  we don’t have room-darkening shades so   if artificial measures haven’t been used (read: obnoxious alarm clocks) we wake with the light.

thoughts stream in with the light in this just-past-the-dark-hour.  our quiet as we sip coffee, like jiffy-pop starting to pop on a hot stovetop, is punctuated by bits of conversation.  the dreams we are climbing out of, the babycat’s snoring through the night, dogdog’s sweet need for early pets, what the weather looks like out our window peering into the backyard, projects we are working on, what is on the docket for the day.  ideas, reminiscences patter through.  we stretch into the day yawning in front of us, putting on, and trying to keep on, caps of making-good-assumptions.  today is a good day to have a good day, as the saying goes.

good assumptions.  apparently, they are a high ticket item.  for we all are, in the world, surrounded by those who do not make good assumptions.  my sweet momma would tell me, “don’t jump to conclusions.”  “ask questions,” she would admonish. a difficult lesson worth oft-repeating.

we would sit on the couch at the end of the day, sipping tea and eating chips ahoy cookies.  we’d talk about the day, bitter jabs by classmates or exclusionary moments i had endured.  “try to find something good,” she’d remind me, while at the same time not underplaying the hurtful behaviors.  “make good assumptions.”  this is the same woman who, on the emergency room table in the wee hours of the night, in great pain and fearing a broken hip, looked up at a cranky and tired nurse and remarked, “you have a beautiful smile.”  it changed the moment; i suspect it changed the rest of the nurse’s day; perhaps it changed all those who she interacted with thereafter and so forth.  those undeniable concentric circles.

in early days with david, clearly in the beaky-beaky school of thought, one of the most-oft-repeated things i remember him saying is “ask questions.”  don’t assume you know.  don’t assume anything.  ask.  listen.

quite some time ago, mike stated, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.”  watch, ask questions and listen, he advised.  don’t make assumptions.  the best way to learn, the best way to collaborate, the best way to approach challenge, the best way to move in the world.

momma would smile and look at me, facing down adversity or standing tall on a personal summit, and say, “wowee!”

i can practically hear her now, her eyes dancing, saying, “see?  if you ARE going to assume anything, assume awe.”

thank you, chicken marsala, for the reminder.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

assume awe & other fun chicken marsala products

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CHICKEN MARSALA ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 


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beaky’s text. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

beaky text copy.png

at 93 these words were texted by my sweet momma on her iphone, about a week before she died three years ago.  she was amazing.  and damn strong.  “whoa!” i think, re-reading this text, “you go, momma!”

“…more than i say…more than i speak…more than you realize…” like every mom she walked the thin line between not saying enough and saying too much.  The Girl and The Boy are practiced at rolling their eyes at me and, i guess, i must have done the same to my momma.  so there’s that moment you dig in and, ignoring every quivering fibre in your body, you do not say anything.  you notice, you think, you know.  but you remain quiet.  for you also know that the lives you have gifted into this world are not yours to live; they are only yours to love, to hold closest to your heart, to support in every way you can, to lift up when they stumble or fall.

“don’t. underestimate me.”  so true, momma didn’t want to be under-estimated.  her spirit in the world accomplished bigger things than most professions can tout.  her kindness was rippling, her curiosity abounding, and her fortitude…that sisu.  you don’t want to be the retail/corporate/organization recipient of the “write-a-lettuh” vindication; momma was going to win.  she “wasn’t born in ny for nothin” as i say.  the day after the extra surgery she had just one day after her double-mastectomy a few months before this text, she sat on the edge of her hospital bed and called us “idiots” for not getting back on the road home.  she was going to be “just fine” and she was more worried about us on the road than herself.  that’s a mom for you.  that’s my sweet momma.

beaky dug in.  she was engaged and big in the world. and her sisu made her powerful.  she was wise even in silence.  she knew, even if i didn’t tell her.  like moms everywhere, she was tuned in, in ways that made her ever-present.  i always counted on that.  i still do.  she is on the edges of this earth, where the wind carries her to me.

i can only hope that one day my own children realize that – no matter what – i am right there.  i know more than i say.  i think more than i speak.  i notice more than they realize.  and never, ever, underestimate me.   because as their momma, i will go to the ends of the earth for them.  just like my mom.

read DAVID’S thoughts on BEAKY’S TEXT

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you’re the wind. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

mom and dad youre the wind

it would be 75 today.  75 years since the day my sweet momma and poppo married.  and so, i am sharing two videos here today – the first is a dedication and the other is my song YOU’RE THE WIND.  because i know you are.  the wind.  to each other and to each of us here on earth who miss and love you.  always.

on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH3ZNJjYOpQ&t=2s

on youtube: https://youtu.be/jt7Fk0p2jgs

for other songs and music, visit iTUNES or www.kerrisherwood.com

YOU’RE THE WIND ©️ 2005 kerri sherwood

 


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be kind. [two artists tuesday]

be kind collage with color font copy

we have a new frog in our pond! two actually.  this feels like perfect timing for us; we needed the good sign of a frog in our midst.  both of these frogs are different than previous pond-frogs we have had in past years; these two are leggier, less body and more frog-legs.  we’ve named the bigger one ripple and the little one pebble.  neither comes when we call their names, but ripple is not as shy as pebble.  we’ve advanced toward the pond and pebble will dive right in before we get close, but ripple sits quietly on one of the rocks and waits.  when he (or she) eventually dives in, it’s with a flourish and we get to see the concentric circles that spread outward, which is where it got its name.

it’s where we sit in our belief – as artists, as people – that the concentric circles spread outward from the center.  the only place from which we can really make a difference.  any difference.  it hearkens back to my sweet momma…her very core believing that all should start (and end) with being kind.  on her website www.beakysbooks.com is quoted mr. fred rogers, “there are three ways to ultimate success.  the first way is to be kind.  the second way is to be kind.  the third way is to be kind.”  it’s how she lived.  she would point to her life and asked what she had accomplished.  greatness.  she accomplished greatness.  because she spread kindness.  out and out and out it went, the ever-widening rings into the world.

it doesn’t seem that complicated.  it doesn’t take wealth or a super pac or any kind of grandeur to accomplish.  it is simple.  basic.  in the words of john wesley, “do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”  or my sweet momma’s favorite verse, ” i shall pass through this world but once.   any good therefore that i can do or any kindness that i can show to any human being, let me do it now.  let me not defer or neglect it, for i shall not pass this way again.”(stephen grellet)  or from the dalai lama, “be kind whenever possible.  it is always possible.”  right at the center, right where ripple quietly sits before the great hop – right before we move or speak or rebel or undermine or chasten or deflate or insult – is the place where we can choose to be kind.

for BE KIND products – so many things with this basic message – click here OR click on the BE KIND collage box above or below. you will be linked to a t-shirt, but be sure to scroll down on that society6.com page to see the “also available as” products.

be kind collage with color font copy

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

be kind ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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be kind. [two artists tuesday]

be kind collage with color font copy

we have a new frog in our pond! two actually.  this feels like perfect timing for us; we needed the good sign of a frog in our midst.  both of these frogs are different than previous pond-frogs we have had in past years; these two are leggier, less body and more frog-legs.  we’ve named the bigger one ripple and the little one pebble.  neither comes when we call their names, but ripple is not as shy as pebble.  we’ve advanced toward the pond and pebble will dive right in before we get close, but ripple sits quietly on one of the rocks and waits.  when he (or she) eventually dives in, it’s with a flourish and we get to see the concentric circles that spread outward, which is where it got its name.

it’s where we sit in our belief – as artists, as people – that the concentric circles spread outward from the center.  the only place from which we can really make a difference.  any difference.  it hearkens back to my sweet momma…her very core believing that all should start (and end) with being kind.  on her website www.beakysbooks.com is quoted mr. fred rogers, “there are three ways to ultimate success.  the first way is to be kind.  the second way is to be kind.  the third way is to be kind.”  it’s how she lived.  she would point to her life and asked what she had accomplished.  greatness.  she accomplished greatness.  because she spread kindness.  out and out and out it went, the ever-widening rings into the world.

it doesn’t seem that complicated.  it doesn’t take wealth or a super pac or any kind of grandeur to accomplish.  it is simple.  basic.  in the words of john wesley, “do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”  or my sweet momma’s favorite verse, ” i shall pass through this world but once.   any good therefore that i can do or any kindness that i can show to any human being, let me do it now.  let me not defer or neglect it, for i shall not pass this way again.”(stephen grellet)  or from the dalai lama, “be kind whenever possible.  it is always possible.”  right at the center, right where ripple quietly sits before the great hop – right before we move or speak or rebel or undermine or chasten or deflate or insult – is the place where we can choose to be kind.

for BE KIND products – so many things with this basic message – click here OR click on the BE KIND collage box above or below. you will be linked to a t-shirt, but be sure to scroll down on that society6.com page to see the “also available as” products.

be kind collage with color font copy

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 12.27.50 PM

please visit our kerrianddavid page and like us on facebook! thank you! 🙂

be kind ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 


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be kind. [two artists tuesday]

be kind collage with color font copy

we have a new frog in our pond! two actually.  this feels like perfect timing for us; we needed the good sign of a frog in our midst.  both of these frogs are different than previous pond-frogs we have had in past years; these two are leggier, less body and more frog-legs.  we’ve named the bigger one ripple and the little one pebble.  neither comes when we call their names, but ripple is not as shy as pebble.  we’ve advanced toward the pond and pebble will dive right in before we get close, but ripple sits quietly on one of the rocks and waits.  when he (or she) eventually dives in, it’s with a flourish and we get to see the concentric circles that spread outward, which is where it got its name.

it’s where we sit in our belief – as artists, as people – that the concentric circles spread outward from the center.  the only place from which we can really make a difference.  any difference.  it hearkens back to my sweet momma…her very core believing that all should start (and end) with being kind.  on her website www.beakysbooks.com is quoted mr. fred rogers, “there are three ways to ultimate success.  the first way is to be kind.  the second way is to be kind.  the third way is to be kind.”  it’s how she lived.  she would point to her life and asked what she had accomplished.  greatness.  she accomplished greatness.  because she spread kindness.  out and out and out it went, the ever-widening rings into the world.

it doesn’t seem that complicated.  it doesn’t take wealth or a super pac or any kind of grandeur to accomplish.  it is simple.  basic.  in the words of john wesley, “do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”  or my sweet momma’s favorite verse, ” i shall pass through this world but once.   any good therefore that i can do or any kindness that i can show to any human being, let me do it now.  let me not defer or neglect it, for i shall not pass this way again.”(stephen grellet)  or from the dalai lama, “be kind whenever possible.  it is always possible.”  right at the center, right where ripple quietly sits before the great hop – right before we move or speak or rebel or undermine or chasten or deflate or insult – is the place where we can choose to be kind.

for BE KIND products – so many things with this basic message – click here OR click on the BE KIND collage box above or below. you will be linked to a t-shirt, but be sure to scroll down on that society6.com page to see the “also available as” products

be kind collage with color font copy

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 12.27.50 PM

please visit our kerrianddavid page and like us on facebook! thank you! 🙂

be kind ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson