reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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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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it’s all how you look at it. [two artists tuesday]

THIS from the ferry copy

the ice-breaking bow of our ferry made its way across “death’s door”, the strait that connects lake michigan and green bay.  the windchill below zero, you could hear the hardy vessel crunching its way through the ice.  it was other-worldy.  no one else on the ferry appeared to be as enchanted with it as we were; clearly, they were big-I islanders, unmoved by this half-hour jaunt across frigid waters to washington island.  unfamiliar vs familiar equals enthralling vs mundane.  it’s all how you look at it.  and where you start from.

when i moved to wisconsin 30 years ago (kicking and screaming at the time) i stood in the pasta aisle of the grocery store – a local piggly wiggly.  there was no mueller’s pasta.  none.  the brand i had grown up with on long island, the brand i found in florida publix grocery stores…it was not here in wisconsin.  i felt instantly lost, instantly homesick.  i sensed people moving around my frozen-in-the-spot-trying-not-to-cry body; they were choosing boxes of spaghetti and penne with no problem.  for me, it was a telling moment.  it was an indicator of change, despite its seeming insignificance.  standing in that aisle i can tell you it’s all how you look at it.  and where you start from.  (*for an update on this incident, please see below.)

the ferry docked on the tiny island, a mere 35 square miles.  we disembarked and met our friends.  they drove us around, on snow-covered roads, through canopies of trees, past glimpses of water between the pines, their limbs bowing to the snow.  at one point they said we could go to the house if we were bored.  “no,” we answered.  how could we be bored, we wondered.  the quiet, the stillness, the solitude was compelling.  it’s all how you look at it.  and where you start from.

it was quieter on the ferry ride back with fewer people.  we were just as enthralled.  the ice pieces broken by the bow skittered along the ice plate on top of the water.  lines cracked through the sheet, paths drawn by nature’s etch-a-sketch.  some large slabs of ice raised skyward.  we looked at each other and quietly let out a breath.  we couldn’t imagine how this trip across open water could ever become run-of-the-mill.  but around us were people who acted like it was piggly wiggly brand pasta and they were in the aisle racing to get to the next aisle.  it’s all how you look at it.  and where you start from.

lake ice copy

*(the rest of the story) i called my sweet momma when i returned home from ‘the pig’ as they say.  she answered and i instantly recounted my no-mueller’s-pasta story, i’m quite sure teary in the telling, yearning for the home we had left.   four days later the UPS truck pulled up at the end of the driveway and the driver lugged a very large box to the front door.  in it i found every shape and size of pasta available…all made by mueller’s.  moms are wise beyond words sometimes.  by the time i finished using the boxes-in-the-box, the unfamiliar had begun to be familiar.  the crisis (yes, fundamentally not a physical crisis, but definitely an emotional one) was over.

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toward it. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

snowshoes with frame copy

“the weakest link,” i said, referring to myself as we spoke about the possibility of going snowshoeing.  i had never snowshoed before, but i was excited to try it.  we were planning on renting some snowshoes at a nature center and then snowshoeing through the woods.  but, in the typical manner of someone who has never tried something before, i was a little nervous about keeping up.  i’ve skied before – both downhill and cross-country – and i know it takes some concentrated ability to do it even partially well.  hence, the nerves about snowshoeing.  (do i need to take lessons?  is there a trick to this?  are there things i need to know about balance and leaning in and switching leads and and and?)

our best friends and david told me it was “like walking”.  i seriously doubted that.  i just knew that i would somehow be trailing behind, poles and snowshoes stuck in drifts, head over heels in the snow (literally).

but it didn’t turn out that way.  i worked at having a you-don’t-have-to-be-instantly-good-at-this-relax-kerri attitude all the way there.  i worried all the way there.  did i have the right boots on?  should i have worn a different jacket?  what kind of gloves would be best?  i complicated something that is actually not complicated.  but, even in the middle of my snowshoe-agonizing, i kept walking toward it.

and, ohmygosh, it was fabulous.  when i wrote to The Girl afterward, she referred to it as “your new fave winter activity”.   it is totally ranking up there, high on the list.  what better way to hike a few miles through snowy woods?  the trails were quiet, save for the punctuation of our laughter and the stops where we had lengthy conversations and brad built a snowman.  it was a brilliant day.

so many times we hesitate…we worry…we think we should already know how to do something or be instantly good at it…we resist trying something new….

i just want to say this:  walk toward it.  it could be an experience filled with quiet and laughter,  stretching of muscles intellectual or physical, simple beauty and fresh air in your lungs literal or figurative, and an i-can-do-this illumination.

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

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