reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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trees and angels. [merely a thought monday]

merely words framed copy

“how was your week?” jonathan asked.  we rolled our eyes.  he was unpacking his bass while i uncovered the piano and d adjusted the mic stands.  he said, “tell me about it.  you guys always have great stories!”  eh.  great stories.  more like mini soap operas, you might think schadenfreude applies here (where he might derive some pleasure from our angst) but on the total other side of the spectrum, we have agreed that jonathan is an angel.  i wonder if, as he drives away in his subaru outback, he turns the corner and POOF! he disappears.

“it’s ok,” he says.  “trees must split their bark to grow.  there is pain.”

i can’t remember ever truly thinking about this.  but…i immediately pictured a beautiful sapling, our own “breck”.  a baby aspen we brought back from colorado, we have been nurturing it for over a year now, watching it carefully -and proudly, like parents- through the seasons.  the smooth bark on its adolescent trunk glows in the sunlight and we worry as we see this summer take its toll on the young tree’s leaves.  we notice little scions near its base, our aspen sending out roots to perpetuate itself.

i think of all the walks in the woods, the trails in the forest, the old trees in our yard and neighborhood and i can picture the rough bark, the puzzle pieces up and down the trunk of each tree.  somewhere along time, these trees, too, had smooth skins.  and then, in growing, the cambium layer’s cells, just under the bark, divided and grew, adding girth to the tree’s diameter in the process.  the outer bark continued to protect this inner layer of growth.  the job of that outer bark is forefront, keeping the inner tree healthy, as it experiences pain from the environment.  and the tree grows.

the bark.  the cambium.  the heart of growth.  and angels.

thank you for the perspective-arranging, jonathan.  again.

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

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where’s chicken?

 

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in transition. [k.s. friday]

in transition song box.jpg

in pondering what to write about this piece,  i took out the jacket for the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART.  my first full-length album, released in 1995, an hour of my original solo piano compositions, i dedicated it to my big brother wayne who i had lost a few years prior, but whose presence i could feel as i worked on this project.

in the jacket notes, next to this piece IN TRANSITION, i wrote “many changes for many around me.  changes give us time and impetus to sort through (and feel) the stuff of our lives – the transitional time.”  that would explain the minor, a key that invokes going inside.

i guess i will have to defer back to that.  it’s no different now than it was then.  there are still “many changes for many around me”.  i would have thought that things would feather out on the change seesaw, maybe leveling out a bit.  but now, 23 years later from those moments of recording remotely on stage in an auditorium at northwestern university, i see that life continues to be fluid, change continues to happen, we still have to sort and feel and go with the flow, we are still learning, growing, changing, we are ever on that seesaw.  still in transition.

 

purchase the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART or download IN TRANSITION track 8 on iTUNES or CDBaby

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

K.S. FRIDAY – ON OUR SITE

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visit our page kerrianddavid on facebook 🙂

IN TRANSITION from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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the 21st century. [two artists tuesday]

WelcomeTo21stCentury copy

side B of the canvas

along with the portable record player we take out on the deck, we have the you-remember-the-case-with-the-handle box of 45’s.  with titles like sugar sugar and IOU and julie do you love me and….the side A of these records are the likely hits.  but if you turn it over and play side B you can often be surprised by a song you like even more than the touted “side A” song.

when david brought up this canvas to photograph the painting on the front side, i was reminded of what we had seen when 20 so generously gave d a slew of his dad’s canvases.  on the side B, his artist dad (richard “duke” kruse) had written, “welcome to the 21st century” on the back of the canvas he had so meticulously stretched.  we laughed when we first saw it, but it remains a mystery as to why he wrote it; we can only guess…maybe he was bemoaning the loss of something of the 20th century; maybe he was truly welcoming the next.  either way, we get it.  we are both 20th century artists.

as a painter, david uses actual brushes to apply actual paint to actual canvas, a process that doesn’t necessarily need explanation, but, in the 21st century art world, isn’t necessarily always the trend.  with computer design and sketchpads -aka graphics tablets- the feel of bristles can become foreign to a contemporary artist.  what about the smell of the paint?  the light from the window on the canvas?  the spatter of acrylic matte medium on your clothes? the wooden brush handle in your hand?

as a composer, i use paper and pencils and erasers and a piano.  i have a couple of keyboards that have traveled all over with me, but the piano that takes up an entire room in our house is my tool of choice.  it is stunning how much time it took me to write a full score way back in college compared to the ease of scoring on the computer.  if i made a mistake on the score, i had to -with my pencil and then calligraphy pen- redo the whole page.  then i had to write out all the parts individually.  the 21st century has advanced the ability to have a computer generate all the individual parts off one score that is online.  pretty amazing and time-saving stuff.  not to mention the “playing” factor.  the computer program will “play” the part you write; you don’t have to.  but what about all the pencil eraser dust that falls on the keys of the piano?  what about the scraps of paper spread out all over the top?  what about the feel of the action below your hands, the response, the whooshing sound of the pedal?

acoustic vs plugged-in, analog vs digital.  kind of old-fashioned.  that’s probably why i like to sit in one of the rocking chairs in david’s studio and just watch.  and why he will come into my studio and just listen.  we don’t need a lot of fancy stuff.  he just wants to hang his paintings and i just want to sit at a piano on a stage with a single mic.  pretty 20th century.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the new side A:  earth interrupted VII (36″x48″)

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

welcome to the 21st century/earth interrupted vii ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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two artists tuesday #3

CHILDRENarethebestwithframe jpeg copymay 15, 1990.  the day my life took an unchangeable turn.  the girl was born.  i became a mother.  nothing would ever be the same.  and i am beyond infinitely grateful.  love became more than a noun and a verb – it became a person in my arms.  every fibre of me was in love with this little wonder.  i still am.

nothing can really prepare you for this feeling that is undeniably the most intense thing i have ever felt.  i had my first taste of this when my niece wendy was born…the first of my niece-nephew-niece trio.  i was young then – just eleven (sorry, ben…that really dates you ;)) i fell in love with each of them and, to this day, i’m quite sure they have no idea how much they are loved.  but motherhood was different.  it took my heart to a different plane entirely.  i wondered how it would be -how i could love any more- when i was expecting my second child.  when the boy was born i felt as if i had grown a whole second heart, as bottomless as the first one.

i am so very fortunate to be the mother of these two amazing people-in-this-world.  my daughter ‘the girl’ is beautiful and fiercely independent and talented and smart and funny and -will always be- one of the reasons i breathe.  my son ‘the boy’ is beautiful and fiercely independent and talented and smart and funny and -will always be- one of the reasons i breathe.  i have been moved by their presence in the world.  i have learned in countless ways.  i have struggled with the balance of  wanting-them-near and having-them-far-away.  i know that there is not anything else i have done that is more important.  they are the first thoughts in my mind in the morningtime and the last at night.  i have been changed.  i will never be the same.

this past week, like too many times in recent years, has cut to the core of my heart.  i have felt overwhelming empathy for mothers (and, of course, fathers) who have lost their child to violence.  i am not protected so much that i believe the events of the past week are the only children being lost to violence.  i am no less appalled by the loss of a child to famine or war or domestic brutality.  i just can’t imagine it.  the raw brokenness-of-heart is unfathomable for me.

our children, like anything else that really counts in life, do not come with a manual in which you can look up ‘how’.  we can read and study and research and google, but every situation is different and caring for and raising children is – and, by sheer importance, absolutely SHOULD be – the toughest thing you have ever done.  and, if you have chosen it,  the most momentous. it counts.  it is the shepherding of life.  it is life begetting life.  children are the breath of the (what-kind-of-world-do-we-want?) world that continues. not just for their parents.  but for all of us.  because it doesn’t just take a village; it takes a world to raise a child, to raise children.  they ARE the best thing.

CHILDREN ARE THE BEST THING – MERCHANDISE

TwoArtists ChildrenAre MUG copy                TwoArtists ChildrenAre FRAMED PRINT copy

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

www.kerrianddavid.com/the-melange

read DAVID’S thoughts about this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

 children are the best thing ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

 

 

 


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something to pay attention to.

like so many others today, i paid attention to the solar eclipse. where we live in wisconsin, the sun was going to be 84% draped by the moon and, as it turned out, the clouds made that difficult – at best – to see. but there was nevertheless a couple of hours when i was aware that there were many others, all across the country, who were paying attention to the same exact thing i was.

now i am sure that there are many who could write eloquently about this day…a day when the celestial heavens all lined up, where the power of one celestial could, literally, overshadow another. so i won’t even try to put words into the science of it, the emotion of it, the mystic of it. what i was really aware of is that never once during this period of time did i look at the news app on my phone. i didn’t tune in to all the mayhem that is now our country, our world. i simply watched the sky (well, to be accurate, i watched the cardstock on the deck while david held a second piece that was pinholed. we didn’t have eclipse glasses. we don’t have stunning photographs to mark this time. i took a picture over the house of the sun-glow in a cloudy sky, just to remember.)IMG_2827

i wondered about my children, my family and my friends all across this beautiful country…whether or not they were watching the sky too. i held them each in my thoughts and pictured their homes or where they lived, where they might be.  i wondered if everything aligned so that they could see totality or maybe become swathed in darkness for a couple minutes, nothing shy of remarkable.

we watched a bit of the nasa channel and some reporting from a couple major networks – but only about the eclipse. we marveled at the footage and drew in our breath at the diamond ring that appears after the moon shadows the sun.  gorgeous.  it was amazing.

here in wisconsin the sky and the air around us got darker, like when dusk is setting in or maybe a storm is arriving. cooler breezes blew around us, a nice relief to the midwest afternoon humidity that had set in. we toasted iced coffees at the moment of peaking coverage and sat on the deck, trying not to look at the sun, even in its hide-and-seek mode. we took a walk and exchanged “happy eclipse day” greetings with neighbors and others we passed who we didn’t know.

for just a little while, the sun and the moon were the focus in our day. the yin and the yang…existing as inseparable and as contradictory opposites. not seeking to be dominant but living in relationship. interconnected. balanced.

FullSizeRendermaybe this event in our day, this yin-and-yang-sun-and-moon-experience, was a reminder of two distinctly different halves that form wholeness. maybe that is why it was so striking – the day-sky and the night-sky together at the same time, impacting us. maybe it is a starting point for us. a starting point for change. the realization that if these magnificently opposite celestial energies can co-exist, we earthly beings can do the same. not seeking to be dominant but living in relationship. interconnected. balanced.

maybe it’s the something to pay attention to.

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ungrounded.

me&poppofour years ago today my daddy died. while in some ways this feels like yesterday, there are so many ways that this feels like eons ago. my sweet momma pined for him for the next three years. their marriage had been a lifetime of almost 69 years together. it’s hard for me to imagine that amount of time; i’m not even that age yet.

and now there are times i pine for both of them, her gentle but insistently positive and kind spirit, her chatty stories, her “hi, my sweet potato” or “good morning, sunshine”, his quiet pondering, quick norwegian temper, the tears in his eyes when it was time for leave from a visit, his “goodnight, brat” or “i love you, kook.” i wish they weren’t gone.

i find that today is not the hard day. it’s the days preceding today. it was like that for my momma too. it was the days preceding the anniversary of her dying that i was off-balance, out-of-sorts, crabby, ungrounded. anticipatory grief strikes hard, even after ‘real’ grief. anticipation of all the remembering. anticipation of The Day. anticipation of how it will feel…this time. anticipatory grief. ‘real’ grief. what’s the difference anyway…

he said, ‘we need to love more on these days.’ instead, we tangle some. this kind of ungroundedness is hard to explain. it’s raw. painful. one day in a note from lori, she wrote that she just wanted me to know that there is a different kind of grief that happens when both of your parents are gone and, having that experience, she would be happy to talk about it. i should probably take her up on that. sharing experiences with someone who can totally empathize –not sympathize- is a good thing.

we were walking yesterday, arm in arm, dogdog at our side. someone came out of her house, water bottle in hand, sneakers on, ready to take a walk. she said, “i have been trying to get my husband to take a walk with me. i tell him that we should walk together sometime before we croak. i don’t know how much more pressure i can put on him. i tell him all the time about the husband and wife who walk. i tell him they look so peaceful. i love seeing you two walk….”

i felt anything but peaceful yesterday. but there must be something. something that makes ‘loving more’ obvious. even if we can’t see it at the moment. even if we can’t feel it at the moment. even if i am ungrounded.

take a walk. hold hands. love more. every day.

hands

 


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moms. anticipation.

maria shriver, in her book and one more thing before you go, wrote, “but for your mother, empty-nest pain and grief is genetic…she took care of you, nurtured you, enjoyed you, is in awe of you – and now she’s letting you go. how could she NOT have deep feelings about it? …think of the alternative. do you really want a mother who doesn’t care….”

“it’s the most wonderful time of the year” is playing in the background as i write this. it transports me back to my growing-up years…my sweet momma and dad played christmas carols on the stereo non-stop at this time of year. frank, dean, burl, jim, robert – all household names playing on old 33’s or on the local fm radio station. i can see out our front window, i can taste the hot cocoa on the couch with my mom, i can see the old thin-glass ornaments and the tinsel my dad patiently put up strand by strand. we got the luminaria ready for the neighborhood christmas eve gathering in the street before the 11:00 church service that let us out into the midnight turn into christmas day. we anticipated.

years later. each season it was late into the night that we wrapped gifts, closing off the dining room so that even if one of the children came downstairs, too excited to sleep through the night, we would be able to prevent them from coming into the room laden with gifts in the midst of santa wrapping them. christmas carols played in the background. before i went to sleep i would sit in the living room – with all the lights off- and gaze at the christmas tree in all its splendor. and i anticipated.

i would get really excited right around the time i needed to drive north to pick up the girl or the boy from college for the christmas holiday. readying their rooms and checking to be sure all the gifts i had purchased were adequately hidden, i would drive -with christmas carols playing in the car- to pick each of them up, with all the stuff they needed for the break. with great anticipation.

when the girl and the boy could drive themselves home or get a ride from a significant other, i would wait and wait. i would try not to text too many times “where are you now?” and i would double-check my menus and run to the grocery store. i might wrap a few gifts, but i still waited until the middle of the night on christmas eve – with carols playing in the background – to wrap most of the stocking stuffers and the presents that would grace the base of the tree. and i anticipated.

this year is the first year that i won’t have both the girl and the boy here for christmas. the boy will come from the big city to be here, but the girl is high in the mountains teaching other people how to have great glee on a snowboard. she told me on the phone late last night “i told someone today that my mom is probably having a hard time with this – the first time i won’t be home for christmas.” she’s right. this is tough.

i now know what my own sweet momma felt each of those years i could not be at their home for christmas. it is in our dna to want our children to be happy, to feel fulfilled, to find joy in the simplest things, to celebrate each day, not just christmas. but the physical presence of your children makes a big difference. it’s huge. seeing them happy and fulfilled and joyful, seeing their faces and hugging them…hovering isn’t so bad, we moms think…it’s the holiday. ok, it’s any day. because in all the world, in its twists and turns and ups and downs and ebbs and flows, there are only a few things that remain the same. one of them is your mom. this is the first year my sweet momma will be celebrating christmas in heaven with my daddy. this is tough.

the christmas carols are playing in the background. they transport me. each one of them. each one of them has a story. each one of them has some history in my mind’s eye and in my heart. it is a mixed bag of emotions held together by ribbons of love, by wishes and times of joy, by memories and times of wistfulness and sadness, by dreams and great anticipation.

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www.kerrisherwood.com

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