reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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this part of the journey. exclamation mark. [k.s. friday]

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today my sweet momma would be 98.

she was born in 1921 and saw everything change around her. she stood in a world that saw the great depression, world war II, telephones and cars, movies, televisions and news shows reporting on more wars than she could wrap her head around. her husband was missing in action and then a POW shot down over bulgaria, all while she was expecting a baby. she gave birth to their first child while my poppo was still a POW and stood in faith that he would return as that little girl died.

momma built a life with my dad, all the while navigating veteran-ptsd that hadn’t yet been labeled. but she figured it out. she held her ground, both supportive and snapping to action or to “words” as she would call arguments between them.

my sweet momma wore stockings and pumps “to business” and had housecoats with snaps, long flowing mumus and finally, at long last, blue jeans and keds for relaxing. momma drove a mean stick shift and, because they were a one-car family for the longest time, walked to the king kullen and dairy barn for groceries and milk. she turned her very green thumb over to my dad after he retired, likely to keep him out of her hair for a bit of time.

she volunteered as the girl scout president and in aarp alongside my dad. she loved wood and glass; she loved to paint with oils. she loved lists and calendars and math and writing and doing the laundry any time she was stressed. she wrote old-fashioned letters with pen and paper. she adored her word processor and then the computer and finally, her beloved iphone. anything to stay in touch. she texted, she called, she facebooked, she mistakenly took pictures of the ceiling and sent them on errant trips out to the ethers. momma loved to coffee sit and have english muffins or crumb cake or danish or chocolate chip cookies or pie. and she made extra homemade french fries every time she knew I was visiting so we could sit, drink iced tea, eat cold french fries and talk.

she didn’t let fear overtake her. she was strong in every way. she credited being from new york, but i credit just her – she just went with the flow and sort of ignored anything that got in the way, including any physical challenge that presented itself. two days after a double mastectomy at 93 she sat on the side of the hospital bed and, in good humor, sassed everyone around.

she loved that everyone called her beaky. and i mean everyone.

her journey was long, her experiences rich. she was an exclamation mark in life. she celebrated people and love and moments and I miss her.  so much.

but it is part of my journey to miss her.

each of us bring to our journey our own punctuation. sometimes i think i am an ellipsis, but i realize that applies to all of us. we go on…

if i got to choose what singular punctuation i would want to be, i would want to be an exclamation mark, just like my sweet momma. for this part of my journey. for every part of the journey.

download THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

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THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1998, 2000 kerri sherwood

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a familiar sight. [two artists tuesday]

jelly jars & sunset

this will become a familiar sight. sunset coloring the lake, an island populated by waterbirds in the distance, jelly jars in hand.  we have arrived.

fog dawned this day, which somehow seems apropos, considering.   dogdog and babycat are struggling to adjust – a different house – the “littlehouse” as opposed to “home”.  we are surrounded by bins and artwork and happy lights and a bulletin board full of photos. we have our picnic basket and our nespresso, office supplies and our peace signs. we’ve hung an old window frame and the chalkboard from our wedding. we have a vintage road-worn black suitcase just waiting to be filled with the stuff of this adventure. we have beach buckets with sunglasses and paintbrushes, kitchen utensils and a bottle of wine. we brought our cloth napkins, jelly jars and a set of our favorite bowls, our hydroflask coffee mugs and water thermoses, our lidded yeti wine tumblers. we have dogdog’s penguin, his lion, his candy cane and babycat’s chase-the-ball-in-the-circle plastic game. we have candles and clipboards, ukuleles, lawn games, and various devices that play music. we have threadied us up.

and it all boils down to this one thing – in my pocket now every day since jen gave it to me – a silver token that says PEACE.

right now, these thready things embrace me. they help with that peace I’m reminded of by this little token.

but this will all become a familiar sight. i know that.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the tide giggles. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

coffee cup dance

plan ahead, you say?   well, we thought we did.  we wanted a photograph to document our shore-sitting-sipping-on-bold-coffee moment that last morning on hilton head.  we carefully watched the waves and placed our mugs in the wet sand.  i stepped back to take a couple photos and voila!  the tide is a funny thing…something of which we have no control.  and so, the coffee cup dance became the moment and our laughter sated our need-for-coffee.

life, i suppose, is like that more often than not.  when i moved away from family to kenosha, the conversation went something like this:  “3-5 years and we will be moving on.”  it is now 30 years later.  30 years!  where did that time go?  what about the plan?  the tide seemed to have its own way and waves of joy and challenge, growth and grief, and simply TIME have washed over me.  the tide laughs in glee.

we try to plan.  my sweet momma had a great sign.  i wish i had it.  but it was something like this:

plan ahead

yet, despite our measuring, our strategizing, our calculating, our PLAN, life seems to take unexpected turns.  the waves roll in and the tide giggles.

why not giggle with it?

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

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so much life lived. [merely-a-thought monday]

so much life lived box

we were talking on the phone.  it had been quite some time and there was so much to catch up on it was difficult to know where to start.  we started with this week.  “so much life lived this week,” heidi said.  yes.  so much.

in the last week or so we have traveled both east and west.  from the ocean to the mountains.  from children to parents.  from littlebabyscion to big red.  we traveled from together to missing.  from gathering things for a new home base to removing things forever from a home.  from being known to the dementia-induced-agony of being not-known.  from a new plan to yet another new plan.  from certainty to uncertainty.  from before to after.

we have driven over 3000 miles and flown 1000 miles. we had the absolute joy of being with our children.  we had the absolute joy of being with david’s parents.  we’ve been with beloved family, with our dearest friends, with complete strangers on airplanes, in rest areas, in hotels, in shops.  we laughed, we talked, we questioned, we argued, we cried, we cringed at how life changes, we celebrated life’s changes.

days swirled around us as we turned the pages of our calendar and we kept going.  taking snapshots, memorizing moments, sealing memories for eternity (as mike wrote).  for this was only one week or so.  and yes, there was so much life lived.

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

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flipflop parking lot. [two artists tuesday]

flip flop parking copy

the sand was ridged pointy and very hot to the touch, but this is the place we had already chosen to park our flipflops.  each time we all walked down to where the waves hit the shore we wore our flipflops through the dune seagrasses, punctuated with sand spurs, trying to avoid the inevitable.  the horseshoe crab shell was our marker…the place we would leave off our shoes and venture to the water over sand that had been warmed by extreme-heat-wave-induced temperatures. The Girl said we needed to be zen, as if we were walking on hot coals.  and so we scrambled over the blistering sand, all zen-like, as we walked and then, quickly, ran asfastaswecould down to the water or back to our shoes.  we became creatures of habit.  no matter how far we walked along the beach, this horseshoe crab signaled home.

until.

the feels-like temperature was about 106, the sun beautiful and bright but dangerous.  the sand….was brutal.  i started to leave my flipflops by the horseshoe crab and make my way again across the pointy-burning-the-bottom-of-my-feet sand when it suddenly occurred to me that we could wear the flipflops further.  that we might c.h.a.n.g.e. where we were leaving them.  that there may be other places we could all park them.  there could be another horseshoe crab parking lot.  or some other marker.  we could actually wear them across the pointy-burny sand, all the way down to the damp sand cooled by the ocean.  brilliant!

The Girl and The Boy immediately followed, no second thoughts for them.  change must be easier at 29 and 26 than it is at….our ages.  we laughed aloud at this habit, this ritual, that we had created, that we were adhering to, d and i.  we wondered aloud why it hadn’t occurred to us sooner to just leave the flipflops on till we were closer to the water’s edge, to avoid the pain.

i’d like to think it was because it was held over, from way-back, when our ability to zen-ly walk across burning coals excelled.  and habits were easier to break.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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it’s in the stars. [merely-a-thought monday]

it's in the stars copy

mike described the night sky and ended with, “…and sometimes you can see the northern lights.”  the blanket of stars in a deep inky sky are vivid with no city lights.  magical and unending, the light from the moon and stars light the tiny island.  a smattering of front lights or the warm glow through windows belies the notion that there is no one present on island.  instead, it just shows the majesty of the infinity-sky and its luminous spheres, seemingly suspended for our delight.

you can feel it when things start to align.  despite one’s tendency to question or even ignore the telltale signs or the pull of gravity, sometimes things are, indeed, in the stars, as the saying goes.

and so, this tiny island with this vast sky will also be our home.  and i imagine that we will sit on the beach or in the purple adirondack chairs.  we will look to the sky and marvel at the stars, both at their incandescent beauty and how they somehow line up.  and we will be starstruck.

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

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the wheels of change. [two artists tuesday]

wheels of change copy

the tread matters not.  the wheels of change are constant.  fluid.  ever-rolling.

we have watched bristol woods change.  we hike there often and have gotten to know trees and turns in the trail personally.  many months ago we knew a decision was made to build a high ropes “adventure” course in part of the park.  we have watched its birth; we have witnessed the change.  the big machinery is out there.  gravel roads are cut.  trees have been removed.  tall poles have been installed and ropes are now hung between them.  the county’s position is that this will be a good thing, generating revenue that would go back into “upkeep and improvements”.

all this remains to be seen.  it would just be my hope that they haven’t lost sight of the simplest reasons for this place to exist, the quiet reasons, the pure reasons.  what is that expression….”penny wise, pound foolish.”  sometimes cutting corners or chasing the shiny new thing isn’t the wisest move in the long run.  you lose the sure foundation, not recognizing what it is you are losing, the steadfast movement underestimated, the maturity of the woods undervalued.  the wheels of change keep going and the concentric circles of impact widen ever-further out.  david’s mom uses the expression “ever-forward” when she signs an email.   sometimes forward is forward.  and sometimes forward is not so forward.

i can feel the wheels of change.  the tread, and therewith the pace, is not yet so evident to me.  i’m not sure if it’s road-bike-tire-thin or monster-650-tractor-tire-thick, but they are there, turning, turning.  ever-forward…

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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