reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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discarded. [flawed wednesday]

discarded.

i have a collection of photographs of discarded masks.

i’m hoping that it’s not because they weren’t valued, but instead, because they had run their course, or maybe, because they were in someone’s hand, along with keys and wallets and water bottles and kind bars and albanese gummi bears, and somehow, got dropped.

at this moment, when wisconsin is at one of the highest in covid-19 numbers, and the country is flailing around trying to tread water and not really holding its own against a global pandemic virus, i just want to plea with you one more time.

please wear a mask. please wear this cloth covering over your nose and mouth. please. wear it.

about 40% of the people at woodman’s grocery store the other day did not do this. ohhhhh, they wore a mask, for sure. but it was under their nose or cupping their chin; they were dedicated to the vernacular, not the actual fact that it is a protective measure. i am deeply saddened by these people. i don’t know what would prevent you from wanting safety for yourself and others, but i know that kind of ignorant move can only be attributed to the direct infusion of falsehoods, lies, misinformation, warping of the truth. and i ask the question a friend of mine posed weeks ago, leaning on the words of the song, “would you cry too if it happened to you?”

please. wear. a. mask.

until it is time to no longer do so.

read DAVID’S thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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grrreat??? [merely-a-thought monday]

when tony the tiger said it, it was true. “they’re grrreat!” he growled. and yes, frosted flakes ARE grrreat. that sugary coating, that crunch, perfect with milk or almond milk. yum. he was not steering us wrong.

we were behind a pick-up on the way to the grocery store. the open bed had two huge flags, both of which said that which you might be able to guess. it was embarrassing even to be behind this truck.

“keep america great” the can’t-be-creative approach to the incumbent’s election makes me (and tony) stop in our tracks.

keep america great? for what, exactly, is great about america right now?

is it the political chaos, the mind-numbing cruelty of an incumbent president with no compassion, no moral compass, no honesty, no real concern for the populace?

is it the way that this nation has failed to appropriately respond to the global pandemic that is careening about our country, striking down families, afflicting old and young, decimating households, killing people? a wanton disregard of science, medicine, safety in the name of what? freedom? freedom of exactly what? is it the obvious choice of the leadership and its complicit minions to be unjustifiably and blatantly uncaring? the freedom to not care about the populace?

is it the social injustice and inequality that has been a part of the fabric of this nation since, well, forever? is it the racial tension, unrest, deeply rooted and devastating to the core of this crumbling democracy? is it the inability of this country to guarantee the provision of indistinguishably equivalent educational, career, earning potential, medical, banking, mortgage, legal, policing and judicial protections and opportunities?

is it the reprehensible wish to return this country to the ignorant, destructive ways of decades earlier, extinguishing the rights and equality of women, of LGBTQ, of any race that isn’t conservative-pearly-white?

is it the lack of affordable and equitable healthcare for all the people in this country? far be it from the united states to embrace the idea that all of its citizens – regardless of their place on the economic ladder – should have affordable and uniform healthcare as a basic right. instead, is it bankrupting its people when they seek care that this country is after?

is it the exclusivity of the wealthy, their insatiable hunger for more money, more money, the inability for the country’s peoples to rest easy at night, worried about their finances, their futures? is it the fact that the stock market is held in higher regard than the food line, that less in this country is never more, that it matters not who suffers, what little person or small business, as long as the corporations are benefiting? is it the disparity, the immovable wedge between wealth and not, the chasm of economic despair in which families all over this country are flailing?

is it the propensity of violence that is wracking these united states? is it the gun laws that allow regular folks to brandish weapons of mass destruction in the street? is it the killing and maiming of children in schools, movie-goers in theatres, concertgoers at venues, shopkeepers asking patrons to wear masks?

is it the extreme nationalism that seems to be seeping into the pockets of many citizens, diluting their compassion, stoking their fury, wrapping itself around their roll of dollar bills they hold closest to their hearts?

is it the way this country’s current leadership and legislature are failing to recognize that we – the – people are the very ones destroying this earth we share with 200 other countries’ residents? is it the way this country is shunning all the goodness that has been done around climate change, all the stopgaps that have been in place, all the earth-communal gathering-together of the most brilliant minds in an effort to heal the damage we have already done, slow the continued harm, avoid future desecration?

is it the palpable rage? the mind-blowing lack of empathetic, nonetheless sympathetic brotherhood/sisterhood of all? the nonsensical lies and warping of truth and justice, values tossed to the wayside? the ignoring of work that must be done?

keep america great? this “perfect union” securing the “general welfare” of all and reaffirming “domestic tranquility” and the “blessings of liberty”?

tony looks up from his bowl of frosted flakes, lays down his spoon and mutters with his mouth full, “keep??? america??? grrreat???”

“not so much,” he scoffs.

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


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what to cheer. [merely-a-thought monday]

a quote attributed to several, it appears lauren morrill first tweeted this.

for months now i have been imploring people – publicly – to wear masks. i have hoped for the simple respect of the medical guidelines of social-distancing and hand-washing, along with mask-wearing, to aid in the cessation of the pandemic. for months now i have watched people deliberately ignore the urgings of the medical and scientific experts, wearing masks arrogantly around their chins or under their noses or not at all, gathering closely, shunning the advice. it feels like asking your toddler to be nice to his infant sibling or her playground buddy – over and over and over. but toddlers learn to listen. how is it so easy to be devoid of compassion? how is it so difficult to care about others?

this country, based on supposed independence, is 331 million people inter-dependent on each other. we would cease to function were we to unlink arms in food growth and distribution, product supply, education, medicine…. it is a fool who thinks we are individually able to sustain life in these united states without each other. no matter where.

so why is it so hard to convince people to care about people? why are there rabid attendees at political rallies during a pandemic without masks, without physically distancing? why is it so hard to understand the perils of bringing covid-19 back to families, to friends, to schools, to communities? why are there unmasked motorcycle rallies where people attend and become super-spreaders? why did 65 people attend an indoor celebration in maine, thereby spreading the pandemic to 175 non-attendees, seven of whom have now died? why are people singing in places of worship when we know aerosols are aggressively contagious? why are people gathering en masse in backyards and parks sans masks, sans distancing, sans any evidence of what is really happening? why are there children and teachers in school, crowded into classrooms where social distancing is impossible? why is there any expectation that there are children at college who will not gather and party without heed to being restrictive when there are children with parents who scoff at this pandemic – how would we expect anything different? why are there people at captain mike’s without masks in a county and state that is having a surge of coronavirus? why are people screaming about their “freedoms”? surely freedom is of little value without those you love around you. surely freedom is of little use without health and stability. and yes, surely freedom isn’t free.

so why is anger so cheered on? why is leadership, so unworthy of respect on so many levels, so cheered? why are untruths so cheered on? why is the subjugation of racial, gender, sexual orientation, religious, economic differences so cheered? why is the vehement denial of anything or anyone different so cheered on? why is smug elitism so cheered? why is bigotry so cheered on? why is violence in speech and action so cheered? why are vigilantes so cheered on? why is open-carrying assault weapons in public places so cheered? why is the destruction of all the good intentions upon which this melting-pot-country was built so cheered on? why is the system of pushing down, even further, those-without so cheered?

why is it that caring about other people is not cheered on?

susan wrote that someone stole her “coexist” magnet off the back of her vehicle. sigh. why is coexisting so hard a concept?

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


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waiting in the box. [k.s. friday]

the lines are chalked slowly in many dysfunctional relationships. unaware, you carry on, not realizing that it is closing in around you. until one day, you wake with a sense of claustrophobia and it occurs to you that you are boxed in. your actions seem to matter not; instead you are subjected to being a react-er. it’s more about treading water than it is about independent movement. it’s more about illogical punting than it is about making sense. it’s more about fear than it is about breathing.

our country is in a box. we react on a daily basis to the newest atrocities of leadership, the newest lies, the newest accusations. yet, no check or balance seems to matter and there are no consequences for this unacceptable behavior.

we tread water waiting.

we are waiting for wisdom to show up. we believe in truth-tellers. we do not believe in those whose jelly-bean-jars of untruths are brimming over.

we are waiting for real answers about the pandemic. we refuse to inject disinfectant and we absolutely choose to wear masks. we believe in science and medicine and we reject hiding the facts from a suffering nation.

we are waiting for help for those who need it: those who have lost jobs, home, security, the ability to pay bills or purchase food. we believe in a government that cares about people on all steps of the ladder and does not honor the stock market over the food lines.

we are waiting for conversation to start – a meaningful first step toward eradicating the social injustice of this country. we believe in peaceful protest and listening, not turning a deaf and bigoted ear.

we are waiting for the science of climatology to hold this good earth in its gentle hands of proactive care. we believe now is the time to show that the future matters and that disregard for this place will destroy that very future for all our children and our children’s children.

we are waiting for the ability to move about in the whole wide world again. we believe that is the only way we can learn about ourselves – to learn firsthand from others who are different than us. we believe in embracing others not repelling them.

we are waiting to not be afraid. we believe in compassion and empathy, not fear-mongering and words inciting division and hatred.

we are downright waiting for the mean-spirited, arrogant, self-agendized abusive behavior to stop.

we are waiting for the dysfunction to release its hold on the lines of the box around each of us, the populace.

we are waiting to vote.

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read DAVID’s thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

THE BOX from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood


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reach to the sky. [d.r. thursday]

“the collective sense of closure we’re all longing for may never arrive. instead, brace for a slow fade into a new normal. … there will be no clear moment when we can all move on.” joe pinsker’s opinion in the atlantic “there won’t be a clear end to the pandemic” is bracing. people will come to individual ‘ends’ as the fear and risk-taking factor start to feather out. there will be no treaty or declaration of peace; instead we will start to move back into life with a little less trepidation, a little more sure-footed.

libby wrote in her post that as she looked at the photograph of people gathered together she wondered where their masks were, she wondered why she was speaking so closely, horrified she was emitting aerosols into the air so close to them. it was a photograph of 2018. but you could choose a photograph of 2019 or even early 2020 and think the same. we watched a dvd movie and it was jarring to see masses of people together, unmasked. the unthinkable has become normalized. the pandemic is here and it is now and we have no idea when or how it will end or what it will look like.

the wildfires rage in the west, the hurricanes come and flooding devastates the south. the adrenaline of social unrest is racing. the pandemic is still in bloom, whether or not people are acknowledging it. jobs and homes and healthcare and bills and security are compromised. the political climate is in chaos and full of arrogant missteps and loud untruths. we are left to sort through the apocalyptic ruins.

we look to the sky, reaching out our arms, asking the universe for a tiny break in the storms.

we pick up our masks, go outside and take a long walk under the setting sun.

visit the full painting CHASING BUBBLES in david’s virtual gallery

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

REACH – a mo️rsel of CHASING BUBBLES © 2019 david robinson


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audacity. [flawed wednesday]

i never used to spend so many waking hours thinking about this country’s president or the governmental agencies and their representatives. i miss those days. i felt, back then, that these people were – mostly – looking out for the good of the country and i felt comfortable enough to go about my own life, taking responsibility for my family, my work, my community. i was informed and yet, i released my hold on constant information.

those days are gone.

now, i watch constantly – in complete horror – as this country has a president – truth be told, an impeached president – who, in his most recent atrocities, blatantly stokes division and hatred, whose absolute disregard for the health and well-being of the populace during a pandemic is evident in his arrogant gathering of hundreds and thousands together non-masked, non-distanced, whose smirking face smugly stated – to environmental scientists immersed in the devastating fires out west – that “it will start to get cooler” and that “i don’t think science knows”. i can not even attempt a complete inventory; the list of atrocities is too long. “all the president’s grotesqueries matter,” tim miller, a former RNC spokesperson.

yes. it’s all grotesque.

it appears that he is not only campaigning by audacity, but he is absolutely unchecked and reigning with audacity as well.

and, as the pissy-ness trickles down from the top and surrounds each of us with people-being-pissy-with-permission-from-the-top-of-the-heap, i wonder: when will it stop? at what juncture will this reign of terror finally be over?

audacious, indeed. when will the audacity end?

read DAVID’s thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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american decline. vicious. [merely-a-thought monday]

“now i can be really vicious,” the loving and enthused words of the [impeached] president of the united states at a rally saturday evening.

“vicious” is not a word you would associate with the behavior of the leader of the free world. “vicious” is not a word used by empathetic, compassionate, caring presidents about how they plan to treat their populace. “vicious” is not a word used in fair, properly and factually prepared, carefully articulated, mature campaigns. “vicious” is not an adjective used by politicians who are trying to unite, to heal, to raise awareness of inequalities, to thoughtfully bring health back to a nation, suffering from layers of dis-ease.

no. let’s face it: “vicious” is not even a descriptor used about dogs you want to be around.

and yet, there are people screaming for more at these rallies. there are people screaming on facebook, on twitter, on message boards, on signs, from stages and pulpits and country club dining rooms and the house-of-white. “vicious.”

where do we go from here? this president has given gross permission for people to be as base as possible, as vulgar as possible, as nasty as possible, as deceitful as possible, as mercilessly unremorseful as possible. he has conquered the heightened epitome of divisiveness, the “no” in no-moral-compass and has created seemingly insurmountable animosity in a country now brewing unrest between its citizens, its families, its friends, its colleagues, its communities, its states, its every-category.

“american decline” was graffitied across the bottom of a freight train. we sat and watched the cars go by, the xb in park just in front of the tracks. it was a long train, car after car, coal hopper after coal hopper, tank car after tank car, stunning graffiti on pretty much each one. it went by too fast to grab a phone to take a picture, but there it was – american decline – spray-painted across the bottom of the car. we read it aloud and then sat quietly.

what is there to say?

“at no time before has there been a clearer choice between two parties or two visions, two philosophies, two agendas for the future. there’s never been anything like this,” read this president at his narcissistic-ego-stroking-power-quenching-non-masked-socially-close-up-and-personal-maga-hat-wearing-rabid-fist-pumping-non-fact-checking-fear-mongering-descent-into-delusion-via-hook-line-and-sinker rally, a rally with an appalling lack of regard for the 194,000 people who have died of the pandemic that still rages across this country…the same pandemic he knew about in february and brutally lied to the public about. the same pandemic that has ravaged the lives of over 6.5 million families: their health, their work, their homes, their security, their futures.

there has never been anything like this. how true is that. it’s vicious.

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wowza. [geez. donkeys are people too.]

guess.

guess what name i was called. it doesn’t require a knowledge of rocket science or even a working articulate vocabulary to come up with this one. “asshole.”

i thought about retorting, “is this a conversation starter or a conversation closer?”

or “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”

or “did you skip kindergarten altogether?”

or “why is it that anytime facts are presented and conversation is possible the choice is made to resort to ugly name-calling instead?”

or – nothing.

the really hard thing here is that my own beloved sister “liked” that this third person called me this name. wow. i must say i would never publicly call my sister or any relative a derogatory name. there are some things that being related stops you from doing. well, at least in my opinion.

and so.

and so, what?

i don’t know.

i guess it is time to stop worrying. it’s time to stop encouraging fact-checking and critical thinking. it’s time to cease pointing out discrepancies, inequalities and bigoted, prejudiced sways. it’s time to no longer attempt to ask questions, have conversation, communicate about differences. it’s time to turn a deaf ear to the vitriol, rhetoric and hatred spewed in the name of patriotism. it’s time to step back and let the chips fall where they may and then not step in them.

or maybe not.

i don’t know.

but i guess it’s time to realize that, yes, it could have been worse. i could have been called a cupcake or a snowflake or, worse yet, infantile. oh. that’s right. been there, done-been-called-that.

yup. intellect and intelligent discourse are at a premium these days.

read DAVID’S SATURDAY SLEW OF WORDS

donkey photo credit: linda t.


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they laughed. [k.s. friday]

they laughed.

two people in a facebook thread LAUGHED (with the convenient use of laughing emojis) at a post i wrote responding to someone’s perception that there wasn’t a lot of peace and love going on in my town and to a comment about kenosha and what “BLM and rioters have done to beautiful cities” and that “denying that it exists [wouldn’t] make it go away.” i was sincere and fervently hopeful, while recognizing realities:

“here, with a house full of smoke from the fires, within hearing distance of the militia shots in the street. we could hear the blasts of tear gas, the yelling and chanting. we had a visceral front seat. but we also see many, many, many people coming together to try to address a long-standing (forever) problem of this nation. denying systemic racism exists will not make it go away. it is incredibly sad that conversation has to be aggressive and pointed, rather than generative and mindfully intentional. cities can be rebuilt, but lives are lost forever. i don’t want to live in a city that looks beautiful and is ugly underneath.”

and they laughed. LAUGHED. i had to step away to catch my breath before i could respond. what is becoming of human decency these days?

yes. kenosha painted boarded-up windows and painted over graffiti of negative messaging. yes. because, connectivity and love are the beginning. and reminders of those can only help. each positive message – in a city boarded up and burned and looted – reminds us of the most basic of emotions: LOVE. each positive message reminds us – as we walk about in this raw wound – that we are incomplete, we are flawed and we have much work to do. we need listen to each other, without overtalking. we need speak, without animosity. we need respect, without exception. we need conversation. we need connection. each positive message reminds us that hope exists, even in the tiniest brush of paint on wooden board.

this is a time of division, to be sure. day after day i am confronted with this reality and with peoples’ brazen attempts to undermine relationship with rhetoric and falsehoods, misplaced loyalties and inaccurate assumptions, and, worse yet, words of aggressive animosity and actual hatred. i wonder what the fallout will be. will the silken gossamer threads of connection sustain? will empathy fall by the wayside? will love of humanity – in all its shapes and sizes, genders, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic positions, religious affiliations – all its anythings – prevail?

“we live between the act of awakening and the act of surrender.” (john o’donohue) the question is always, every single day, how will we live? how will we spend that time? who will we be?

realizing the vast array of wise words that would also be appropriate alongside photographs we’ve taken in kenosha, i chose to post these words of dr. martin luther king jr., “darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” and i added this in answer to derisive comments about protestors:

“one of the foremost protestors in this land was dr. martin luther king jr. the thousands of people who walked in peaceful protest here, even drove and marched right by our house, were walking in that spirit. there have been rioters and looters in each city of unrest. they are spurred on by the vitriol and angry words of the current president, who seems to revel in discord and chaos. the fact is, the vast majority of people who are protesting in this nation are protesting in peace. just like in kenosha. this nation needs equality – the only way to get there is to listen to those who speak, listen to those who protest. their words count.”

and then, in a fine example of what conversation has defaulted to, i was called a “cupcake”, a “snowflake” and “infantile”. wow. i beg your pardon.

and they laughed? how dare they.

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CONNECTED ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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back the **** up! [d.r . thursday]

i have hugged exactly two people since the pandemic started.

two people. one is my husband, who i’ve been hugging daily. and, this past wednesday, finally, at long last, after seven months of not seeing him, and with great forethought, i hugged my son. that’s it. no best friends. no dear friends. no sweet neighbors. no co-workers. no one else. just two. matter of fact, i had an extended conversation a while back with my daughter and, in the middle of a discussion about possibly having a long-long-long overdue visit out in the high mountains and the absolute need to hug, even mask-on-face-turned, her admonishment to stave me away from the rampant numbers there at that time, “how will you not hug me, mom?”

so walking in front of the neighborhood store, about to put my mask on, imagine my astonishment when someone i haven’t seen in almost a decade called out my name, ran up and hugged me. HUGGED me.

this was an adult! an adult exhaling cigarette smoke. an adult exhaling cigarette smoke with no mask on. an adult exhaling cigarette smoke with no mask on and no acknowledgement that i was in the process of putting my mask on but hadn’t completed the motion. an adult exhaling cigarette smoke with no mask on and no acknowledgement of my incomplete-mask-putting-on-action who completely ignored my stepping-back-hand-out-clear-non-verbal-please-back-the-****-up behavior.

daaaaaaamn. i was shocked. it’s a freaking pandemic. my hug-quota is sorely lacking and yet, it is i who should choose who i would like to sacrifice my safety for in order to hug. did i mention? it’s a pandemic!

when i regained my composure on the sidewalk a few blocks away, i reviewed my actions. david, who was clear i did not want to hug this person, said i sent all the right signals. i reviewed it all again. i mean, i am a huggy person and this person would likely remember me as such. this wasn’t a cold reaction to the person; it was a reaction to the social distancing guidelines that we have been encouraged to follow in order to not spread or contract covid-19. i mean, it’s a pandemic!

what would YOU do?

i suppose next time – if this happens again – i could, as fast as my mouth could manage, say, “it-would-be-nice-to-be-able-to-hug-you-but-right-now-in-the-pandemic-i-am-not-hugging-people-sorry-don’t-take-it-personally.” only this wouldn’t have worked. she came at me in a warped speed tunnel…she went directly from the curb to hugging in seconds flat without stopping, without exhaling the cigarette smoke, without donning a mask, without passing go, without collecting $200, without stopping to think, “oh yeah, it’s a pandemic! i shouldn’t be hugging her.”

or, since that likely wouldn’t work in the warp-speed version, i could say in a loud assertive outdoor voice, “back up!” or i could use 20’s spicier version of that (only i won’t print that here.)

either way, it’s alarming to be put in a position like that.

david’s momma told us about a woman who spontaneously hugged her when jeanne gave the woman tomatoes. it horrified my mother-in-law, who then went home and showered and washed all her clothes. at the time i wondered how that could ever happen. well. silly me. s**t happens.

this is such an odd time. it’s scary all the way around. we have been inordinately careful, like many of our dearest friends. we are making choices based on what are the safest behaviors. the fact that someone can just arbitrarily take away your choice – during a pandemic (don’t know if i mentioned that yet) – is bracing.

i will have to have a plan of action for the next time. practice it. evaluate it. practice it again. make it a reflex. and make it flipping obvious.

in the meanwhile, i want my hug back. i need it for people i have actually been dying to hug.

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BACK UP! from PIETA ©️ 2010 david robinson