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life. dust laughing. [merely-a-thought monday]

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every time you think you have it all figured out, life has a way of poking fun at you, pulling the rug from underneath you, making you re-evaluate, maybe roll your eyes, maybe cry out and push back, maybe giggle in abandon.

the island players performed a short at TPAC from spoon river anthology (e. l. masters), a collection of epitaphs spoken as monologues by the deceased residents of the fictional town called spoon river.  it is gripping.  a not-so-subtle reminder of our brief time on this earth and the absolute into-thin-air-ness of our lives.  perspective-arranging, yes, as you listen to the tales of each person, ephemeral, transitory, all fleeting moments in a deep milky way of vast time.

one of the characters, a finely and properly dressed older woman, brags of renting a house in paris, entertaining the elite, dining at fine restaurants, taking the cure at baden-baden, a spa town in germany’s black forest.  she returns to her hometown of spoon river, only to realize that no one really cares about where she dined or what she ate or who she entertained or if she took the cure at baden-baden.  a sobering moment for her and, if you let it in, another one of those lessons.  the kind where you realize that what you do and what you have is – not – who you are.

instead, the dust of us will later snicker, laugh, out and out guffaw at how invested we all were in the things of life that didn’t really count, the things that will disappear into the outer atmosphere of the universe, never to be retrieved.  instead, we should chuckle now, realizing that indeed the best-laid plans are only that.  plans.  that doesn’t make them life.  life has its own ideas.  perhaps we should just remember that, cut ourselves a bit of slack and recognize how funny it really is that each of us, formed of zillions of random cells, somehow ended up here, right here, right now.  for this time.

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

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a beautiful day in the neighborhood. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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when fred rogers aka mr. rogers used to sing, “it’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day in this neighborhood.  …  would you be mine?  …  won’t you be my neighbor?” i remember singing along.  it seemed he was from a different time.  a time when neighborhoods were truly communities.

we are lucky to live in a neighborhood that includes neighbors who are friends.  dear friends.  we gather on back patios and back decks, inside around dining room tables, huddled next to firepits and in each other’s kitchens.  we talk, we laugh, we try to solve the world’s problems.  our neighbors aren’t all the same ages, so we are at different times in our lives, which adds wisdom and perspective and good learnings to these times we spend together.  i have no idea what we would do without these wonderful people.

last weekend after linda and jim’s impromptu gathering, we walked down their driveway.  lighting our way was this moon, shining across the water, over the rocks, directly to us.

yes.  it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

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

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little did i know. [merely-a-thought monday]

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when i was in junior high i wrote a piece for an english class titled “old age is not a disease.”  i’m pretty sure if i searched high and low for it i could find it in a bin somewhere, but, suffice it to say, i have other things on my docket to get done and, heaven knows, i don’t want to even attempt to go near those bins.

when i was in junior high i’m quite convinced that i would have thought 60 was “old age”.  as we know, it’s all relative.  you know, “60 is the new 40” or (i’m hoping) some such faaabulous idiom.

when i was in junior high i’m betting i thought that life slowed down at 60, that people did less and rested more.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high i would think i, errantly, believed that getting older also meant less engagement with unknown things, less learning, less involvement.  perhaps i assumed that getting older was a time for fewer challenges, more relaxation, less thinking, less new.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high maybe i thought that most people who were older thought inside the box; their lives and their activities were conservative and tight, protected and quiet.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high it would be my guess that i thought most older people were secure, maybe retired, with essentially predictable lives and not much to really worry about.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high i’m sure i, like most junior-highers, looked at people who were 60 and thought, “wow!  that person looks old!”  i probably never considered how their spirit played into their look, how life experience added to their wise eyes and kind smile.  little did i know.

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

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life lessons. [merely-a-thought monday]

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you have those friends.  the ones you don’t get to talk to or see all the time, but the instant you call or text or, even better, get to be with them, you pick up right where you left off.  sometimes, those calls or visits are really long; there’s so much to catch up on.

susan and i had one of those calls recently.  the conversation ranged across a gigantic prairie of life subjects – from children to lenten service music to food to relationships to age to challenges to direction to joys to disappointments.  there’s always the inevitable “we should talk more often” and “i miss you”; times we realize how much running our crazy worlds past each other matters.  the “tuition” takes just a little bit less of a toll if we can utter the gory details to our friend, divulge our imagined vindication on whatever the “tuition” is, paint a picture – describing in inordinate detail – of each of our chronicles.

linda, infinite in wisdom and groundedness, finds humor and the wise sticking point in situations.  she has been there for me for decades, close by and from afar.  she is a model of loving steadfastness and makes me feel as if she hugged me, even if we are only on the phone.

heidi, another one of those dear people for me, always asks, “what’s the learning?”.  as infuriating as that question can be, it is a perspective-arranger.  it gives you pause for thought and invites another viewpoint.  the thing i may be obsessing on may not be the point after all.

toward the end of our phone call, susan and i laughed about all the things we were ‘learning’.  oh yes, grateful students?  well, maybe not exactly.  but we are pretty enlightened (for the most part) and we kept laughing as susan said, “yeah, all these life lessons are great, but the tuition sucks.”  we hung up with promises to call again soon.  whether or not that happens right away, i know she is right there.

because here’s the thing we can count on – in the midst of the “tuition that sucks” is that our true relationships and the support we receive from them is endless.  the conversation never really stops.  it just hopscotches from one time to the next, a life-thread of lessons shared.

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

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a matter of perspective. [two artists tuesday]

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corrugated metal.  i have a thing about it.  i have a thing about texture.  and a thing about capturing texture on film.  i love design and white space and fonts, simplicity and the challenge of balance.  this image started with the side of a building against clean snow.  i felt (and still feel) connected to this building and what it represented, so its texture is beautiful to me; the image both inspires and saddens me.  an experiment in contrast and point of view, it may be hard for a viewer to discern what the original pure image might have been.  manipulating it, changing what the viewer would see is simply an orchestration of color and space, light and dark, angle and edge, point and counterpoint (melody) lines.  skewing it changes the emotional response; although it remains fundamentally the same, it becomes something slightly different and is seen through a different lens.  it’s all a matter of perspective.

how we look at anything.  how we see anything.  how the pieces come together, how we view them, how we sort, how we sometimes have to let go.  it’s all a matter of perspective.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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SKEWED ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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you come to realize. [k.s. friday]

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“sometimes it takes longer to understand and appreciate what is around you.” (liner notes)

it’s the ah-ha! you feel when you realize that it’s ALL about perspective and even this moment will soon disappear into vapid space.  yet this very moment is the one that counts.  we simply can’t waste it.  there’s no time to not appreciate it, no time to throw it away while yearning for the next.

i have come to realize this over and over and over, through loss, through mistakes, through absolute joy, through reminders spoken, seen, felt on an excruciating gut level.  we are all repeated students of this lesson, for we are all human.  we are all human, for we are all students of this lesson.

on an everest documentary we watched the other day there was this quote:  “it’s not that life is so short.  it’s that death is so long.”  if that doesn’t make you spring into action – noticing life – i’m not sure what will.

 

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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YOU COME TO REALIZE from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1997 & 2000 kerri sherwood


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

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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.

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*(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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