out there ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood
your toes curl. your breathing is shallow. adrenaline rushes. your legs are a little shaky. your hands feel tingly. butterflies in your belly. you are on the edge. in that tiny place between before and after.
i gingerly walked to the edge of the canyon, my daughter encouraging me. at the moment i stood there, feet firmly planted, no guardrail, nothing between me and canyon wall, my heart slowed down and i breathed in both the enormity of the moment and the taste of both before and after. my girl and i laughed, loudly, the sound echoing across the vast canyon. and then, it was after.
i sat at the piano, ready to record this first piece GALENA of the first album, 24 years ago, savoring the safety of before but ready for after. at the edge of the put-it-all-out-there canyon, i walked onto the stage, brand new cds in the lobby, ready, with quivering knees and boots that gave me confidence. and then, in what felt like a minute, it was after.
now, many album and stage edges later, many life and love moments later, many work and play split-seconds later, i wonder what the next after will be. i can feel the edges; i can see them. i’m aware of my toes curling. my breathing is shallow and adrenaline rushes. my legs are a little shaky and my hands feel tingly, butterflies in my belly. there is a canyon beckoning.
GALENA from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood
one of the gifts i received for my 60th birthday this week – an envelope with seed packets of lettuces in it, dirt and manure. on the outside of the envelope of seeds was this:
“to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” (audrey hepburn)
early november. moab, utah. i was standing on the precipice of a vast and deep canyon and was filled with wonder. My Girl encouraged me a bit further out, a bit higher. she was right to push me. the gorge inches away, unforgiving, i didn’t lose my breath until the very edge. but i breathed in so much more. i felt like ME. me, in my old hiking boots and ripped jeans, a couple black layered shirts and a vest, fingerless gloves linda made. ME. the air of the high desert mountains seemed to fill me and, as i stood there, pondering my very existence in this place, i felt renewed. a meeting ground, i could feel all the yesterdays that brought me there and the tomorrows that stretched forward. it is a spiritual place. she was right and i tied my heart to it just as she had predicted. the sun and i were each merely a tiny piece of the enormity. we watched day end and shadows paint the canyon walls until dark filled the void. we laughed uncontrollably. i cried. no matter what, the next day – tomorrow – would come to that place and sun would spackle the walls until it would -again- be light.
THIS will be the next album cover. in some tomorrow time. i wish to bring burning sun and immense canyons into that project. mountains and Spirit and old boots. a bow to yesterday and to tomorrow and the place inbetween. the air in me. i don’t know when or exactly how. i just know i need to somehow make the chance. i need to stand on the very edge, once again. it matters not whether i am relevant in these times. it just matters that i plant it. lettuce, here i come.
thank you to old friends who called or texted or FB-messaged me this week. i can’t begin to tell you what you mean to me. with love.
erle. ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood
OLD FRIENDS REVISITED from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood
sisu. perseverance. fortitude. stamina. courage. determination. my grandmother mama dear used this finnish term all the time and passed it down to my sweet momma beaky who passed it down to me. a philosophy of life, a mantra, “you gotta have sisu!” mama dear would say. if up against the odds, if forging upstream, my sweet momma would say, “you gotta have sisu!” and so it was without a second thought when it was time to name my own company, the independent recording label that has been sisu music productions for the last 23 years. i can’t think of a better name for all the challenges that have risen – and continue to rise – as an independent artist.
any moment of fear, of uncertainty, brings me to draw on that sisu…digging in my heels and standing firmly in it. it’s kind of a blind faith and has everything to do with that. in the face of adversity, of the scales tilted not-in-your-favor, you just keep on. in the face of fear…everyone has their thing…the thing that makes them afraid…the thing that makes them white-knuckled…you just keep on. sisu.
i was flying back from telluride to denver a couple days ago – in a smaller plane. there was a big strapping guy all dressed in camouflage who got on the plane before me. he told the flight attendant he had been out in the middle of nowhere hunting (successfully) elk and mule deer. he was a rough and tumble kind of guy and ended up seated just across the aisle from me. when the plane hit turbulence, particularly over the front range, his face turned red and he looked over at me with a deer-in-the-headlights look and said, “i hate this part!!” i started talking to him then, trying to ease his obvious fear, talking about the wind currents and the mountains…how i could see the airport…we are almost there…just a teeny bit further…wheels are going to touch down any minute…. he was gripping the lock on the little tray table and finally relaxed his grip and smiled. everyone has their thing.
we can loan others the sisu we carry with us. we can bank on the sisu we carry with us. i often credit being-from-new-york for times i have just forged-ahead-anyway, but my sisu roots go way further back than that.
sisu. i stood back from the edge of a deep deep canyon the other day, my beautiful daughter on another boulder a few hundred yards away. i looked at the sky, the sunset playing over red rock. thought about that very moment in time, this moment i was sharing with the part of my heart known as kirsten…this moment that wouldn’t be repeated. and i heard the voice in my head, “you gotta have sisu.” i stepped to the very edge of the canyon, stretched out my arms and laughed aloud.
“mom’s getting all existential on us,” The Girl declared as we drove through moab, utah to arches national park, my first time. i could hardly help myself. she had told me ahead of time that, “it looks like mars” and she was right. it is vast. and full of shape and shapeless. it was hard to wrap my head around the BIGness of it all. i felt utterly tiny, small as an atom, infinitely lucky to even BE on this earth, somehow present in the midst of all of THIS.
i couldn’t help reflect on how this had all happened, both scientifically and from, yes, an existential place. i couldn’t help what was probably a mouth-wide-open expression on my face the entire time. it is so immense you can feel it in your heartbeat. i couldn’t help the tears that flowed easily, which The Girl had predicted. i couldn’t help the wonder.
in those moments that day of gazing at what had been created on this glorious earth, i realized, once again, that nothing really mattered except that i was there, that intense beauty surrounded us, that love prevailed. i had seen yet another spectacular vista, had breathed it in, had climbed with my daughter and watched my husband take in this place, for each of us both magical and spiritual. and all would be well.
arches national park ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson