reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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things of comfort. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

duke's painting copy

painting by DUKE

“the finnish wood carvings, ” my sweet momma would answer when asked what she wanted in her little assisted living apartment, a place she would occupy without my dad, some time after he died.  those finely carved statues accompanied her from new york to florida, house to house, and, finally to her small apartment.  she cherished them and spent long hours deciding to whom she would give each one.  the list in many notebooks and on many scraps of paper showed that she pondered each recipient’s personality and interests before deciding on a gift choice; these wood carvings were important and each was later given with decades of love.  placed on an equally significant-to-her live-edge wooden shelf in her tiny living room, they seemed to represent comfort to her, something that spanned the years, something that, in their familiarity, gave her a sense of security.  a piece of what-had-been-home in this new home.

when you walked down the hall in eileen and duke’s home, just in front of you before you turned in to their master bedroom was this painting.  duke was an amazing artist, a painter and sculptor with an enormous collection of work.  when we were helping 20 move his momma eileen into her assisted living apartment a few weeks ago, this painting beckoned me as something that might be a familiar sight in her new unfamiliar home.  as we placed other artwork on the wall, i kept thinking about this painting that we had left in their home and i nagged 20 about it.  i felt it could be placed so that the moment that eileen stepped into her new bedroom it would be ahead of her, before she turned to head to her bed.  jogging her memory of the home she and duke had made together, a touch of comfort for her.  20 picked it up later that night and the day his momma moved in we hung the painting.  this sunny, but somewhat austere space, suddenly was lifted to a different level.  the photographs of duke and eileen in the kitchen, the familiar prints in the living room, this painting in the bedroom.  all touchstones from home in this new home.

there are certain things i like to have around me.  things that even in times of uncertainty give me a sense of footing.  were i to pare down there are items that would definitely make the cut, unlikely choices maybe, but things that bring me solace, things that alleviate angst, things that gladden my heart.  what are yours?

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

hands website box copy

 

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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.

zigzag through ice website box