reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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by candlelight. [merely-a-thought monday]

dachshunds candleight.jpg

the first snowstorm took us by surprise.  heavy snow fell on southeastern wisconsin at a time when we were just back from being on island and struggling to figure out where we were in what felt like a time warp.  it was, indeed, the end of october, but it just didn’t feel like it.

the snow was beautiful and heavy and, in our neighborhood of old houses and in-the-trees power lines, it bowed branches and pulled down those lines.  we lost power early in the day.

having no power these days doesn’t just mean you can’t warm up your chicken soup for lunch or (perish the thought) make a much-needed afternoon nespresso.  it means no wifi, no technology, no dropbox.  i couldn’t do the laundry for a trip the next day.  it put us on pause.

we wondered how the people of california were functioning with millions of them power-less in a vague effort to avoid more fires.  i wondered how many people were still struggling without power in puerto rico, for what is an interminable amount of time.  i was reminded of the big flat-line-windstorm that happened in our ‘hood back in 2011, hundreds of trees uprooted and no power for days.  pause is acceptable for a few hours, but after that….

as it got darker we pulled out candles and a battery-operated-lantern that my big-ikea-fan-poppo purchased.  we put our chicken soup in a picnic basket and went out seeking a microwave in which to warm it up.

we got a text from john when he got home, “do you guys have power?”  later, we could see an impressive glow of candles in his living room windows.

my favorite moment in a day of challenges that included having no electricity, came when he followed up on the power company update we texted him.  with john oz wit and his you-do-what-you-have-to-do outlook he wrote back, “the dachshunds ate by candlelight.”

it’s good to laugh.

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

prayerflagsinsnow website box

 


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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

snowshoeing website box copy

snowshoes ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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ice pops. [two artists tuesday]

ice pops copy.PNG

i know it comes as no surprise to you that we watch the national geographic show ‘life below zero’.  we’ve talked about it before and have even quoted snippets of wisdom from some of the show’s regulars.

in the next day or so it will drop to a “feels like” temperature of -52.  that’s negative fifty-two.  the “actual” temperatures won’t even reach the single digit negative numbers.  now, that’s cold!  and yet, each time the temperature is posted on the screen when we watch ‘life below zero’ it is usually some negative number (which doesn’t include the wind chill.)  then, whichever arctic resident they are following will proceed to go miles to hunt or gather or fish, walking or driving snow machines in bitter winds, dragging behind them sleds upon which they will place their findings.  i think we watch it because it is so far from our own lives.  we love the vistas and can’t really imagine the life.

the whole town was closed today; the school system, the colleges, the city offices.  and we haven’t even gotten to the life-below-zero temperatures yet.  at lunchtime we took a walk and the snow was amazing.  it was quiet and the lakefront was full of ice.  our sedum plants looked like the lemonade ice pops i used to make The Girl and The Boy with the tupperware do-it-yourself-ice-pop-set i’m saving for the possibility of grandchildren.  the snow is everywhere; there are enormous baby-sled piles on the sides of the roads.  icicles abound.  it’s beautiful.  it’s a vision of real old-fashioned winter, a calendar entry on one of those the-year-in-wisconsin calendars, postcard images of this time of hibernation.

and so, in deference to the scope of mother nature’s ability to stop us in our tracks, we plan to limit our outdoor exposure the next few days.  we look outside at all the snow that has already fallen and, expecting more, make sure we have enough basics in the fridge and the cupboards to last, in case we can’t get out.  our little scion rocks, but unplowed roads and extreme cold are not necessarily its gig.

maybe we’ll take a little time and watch some more ‘life below zero’.  by sheer comparison, we’ll realize how easy we have it.  oh! and hey, maybe we’ll make some ice pops.  or not.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

-52 website box


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snow angels. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

snow angels copy

it wasn’t exactly a blizzard, but it was a great snowstorm.  it makes me wonder what would have happened if i had wished for something else….

every weekend My Girl drives back and forth across the high mountains.  she is a head coach for a snowboard team in aspen and instructs in telluride, so this four-and-a-half-hour-each-way-she’s-driving-where-there-are-no-guardrails-worry-zone for me is a necessity in her life.  i check the weather and implore her to stay in touch as she goes.  this last week, both of these towns and pretty much every town in-between had “winter storm warning” and THIS posted: avalanche warning copy

not exactly words that warm a momma’s heart.  but kirsten knows i am worried and, probably rolling her eyes, generously lets me know how things are as she goes.  she has good snow angels and i count on them.

i always say things like, “someday you’ll understand” to kirsten and craig, but i know that right now my mom-worrying might just be a burden to them.  i’m grateful they humor me, and i do know that someday they’ll understand.

when we were driving across the country in really bad weather, wendy had the ability to locate us and we were both really relieved for this.  checking in every so often, had something happened, at least she knew where-in-the-world we last were.  a good snow angel.  both The Girl and The Boy can locate me at any time too.  this is not an uncommon device used by families and i know that every mom has eternal gratitude for such a thing.

we took a walk in the freshly fallen snow.  It was very cold out and the wind was blowing, causing drifts across sidewalks and the waves to slam against the rocks on the lakefront.  i was glad not to be driving and my mind wandered back in time to other snowstorms….ones where my children bundled up and ran out to build snowforts and snowmen, ones where i was the one on the road and my sweet momma was the one worrying.  snowstorms when i went outside and played in the snow laughing with beloved old friends.

it had been kind of a long while since i’ve made a snow angel.  we got back from our walk downtown and were in front of our house.  i took david’s hand and we fell backwards into the snow.  i drew in my breath at the cold and laughed, my arms the wings of a snow angel.

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

bong trail, wisconsin website box copy

 

 


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snow? [not-so-flawed wednesday]

snow on the lakefront copy

december 2016 – snow on the lakefront

we are waiting patiently.  after all, this is wisconsin.  snow is a part of our climate.  our average annual snowfall total is just over 36″.  we have a long way to go to achieve that.

it snowed in november but didn’t really stay around.  it dusted snow a few days ago.  and that’s really it.  for two people who love to hike in the woods as a quiet snow falls, this is not exactly our cup of tea.  we didn’t even have a white christmas.  i’m thinking of asking for my money back; this is not the winter i anticipated.

now, there are plenty of people here who are perfectly content without snow.  it’s hard to imagine why they would prefer cold grey days to sky-blue-brilliant sun reflected off of snowcover.  i lust over every photo My Girl posts, not just because of those colorado mountains in her pictures, but the snow is spectacular and necessary – regulating the surface temperature of the earth, protecting root systems, melting to help water tables and avoid drought.  this is the point where i am not mentioning all the research i just did for the last hour about snowfall and our earth and climate change.  it’s painful.

anyway….i know it isn’t convenient.  i know if you must move around in it, it can be dangerous.  i know it’s a lot of work.  but, i’m really thinking it’s about time for a good-old-fashioned blizzard.

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

snowheart website box

snow on the lakefront ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 


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dr thursday #2

NapOnTheBeach brighter jpeg

nap on the beach, mixed media 22.25″ x 55.5″

it snowed a lot here in the last week or so.  d tried to make our broken-ancient-snowblower into happy news of “getting exercise.”  the piles-of-snow-in-parking-lots are really high and they are at that stage where they look like yesterday’s news – they are dirty and a little tired.  today and tomorrow it’s supposed to rain which might clear some of that out.  our little xb (aka “little baby scion”) is filthy.  i look at the weather apps on my phone often, looking for sunny days and temperatures that linger above 50 degrees (maybe.)

we were out on the east coast last summer and went down to the cape to enjoy some beach time.  it was heaven.  (yes, i know the proper use is “heavenLY” but trust me, it was heaven.)  a warm day, ocean waves, full of lobster and amazing seafood we had eaten from wood’s seafood and fish market, we laid out our blanket.  we talked, we drew in the sand, we walked on the water’s edge, we collected rocks and shells, we napped.  the nap wasn’t intentional.  but it was delicious. if i close my eyes, i can almost (almost) touch it.

right about now, i am yearning for a nap on the beach.  so this stunning painting-by-my-sweet-husband on this dr thursday (david robinson thursday) in the melange speaks to me.  i’d imagine there are a few of you out there in the middle-of-winter who might be with me on that.

NAP ON THE BEACH MERCHANDISE (art prints, canvas prints)

nap on the beach framed print  nap on the beach art canvas

DR THURSDAY

PURCHASE THE ORIGINAL PAINTING

kerrianddavid.com/the-melange

check out DAVID’S thoughts about NAP ON THE BEACH

 


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the mountains are calling.

there is a spot when you are driving to colorado that – all of a sudden – the mountains come into view. they are far away, on the horizon, but their presence hits me to the core. every single time i catch my breath. every single time i get tears in my eyes. every single time i anticipate the air i feel there, the space, the vastness, the greatness, the majesty of those ever-present giants.

we come over the rise of the pass and i instantly weep. there in front of us are these incredible soaring heights of rock, dotted with gorgeous green pine trees, verdant aspens. every single time i catch my breath. every single time i weep. every single time i anticipate the air i feel there, the space, the vastness, the greatness, the majesty of those ever-present giants.

we sit in adirondack chairs in the snow, midway up a-basin, soaking in the sun, eating baradirondackchairsAbasinbecue, listening to a band. in front of us, hundreds of spring skiers and boarders go past us – we virtually have front row seats. we watch the girl approach from the heights of the ski mountain…she gets closer, closer. her ability on that snowboard astounds us. she is one with it; her passion for the snow obvious in her huge laughter as she stops abruptly in front of us, deliberately and generously spraying us with snow and slush. leighonsnowboardi catch my breath as i look at my beautiful daughter, the mountains behind her, intense sun. i laugh, all the way from my heart, as i celebrate with her. this air, this space, this vastness, this greatness, this majesty.

one of our hikes was about 6 miles, half of that all uphill. not uphill like the little hill that used to be at the end of the road i grew up on, where you could not pedal all the way down and the momentum would take you all the way around the corner and beyond. no, this uphill is serious. i’m not sure of the elevation gain, but, after the hike, i would swear it paralleled everest.  …ok, maybe not so much… regardless, it was uphill in snow. snow! we were hiking well into june and there was snow on this trail. lots of it. feetinsnowhikingthe air was clear and crisp. the sun dappled through the trees. (haven’t you always wanted to write that? “dappled through the trees.”)   when you are on the mountain hiking, you aren’t as aware of the mountain, if that makes sense. (i remember one time out in the colorado mountains when i was heading to a concert venue and they gave me directions through high elevation plains.  i drove along, wondering where the mountains had gone.  when you are up on them, you don’t see them.  so much like life, eh?)  but when you are hiking and you come up to a clearing kdotatclearingand there is a break in the trees and you can see beyond where you are standing, beyond the trail, beyond limitations, you can see that the mountains out there go on and on and on. we came upon such a clearing and i caught my breath. i didn’t want to turn around. i wanted to keep going and going. to see more of this space, this vastness, this great majesty.

we were driving down the mountain and came upon a lookout with a trailhead. stopping to get out and stretch our legs on the trail we took a few pictures. (this is a never-ending thing…there is an incredible photograph every other second. you have to be careful to not get lost behind the camera – sometimes you miss the moment that way.)  the photographs looked not “real”  –  the beauty so …….what word is bigger than astounding? i stand and look out in amazement.   tears of gratitude and joy and sheer life make me catch my breath.   once again, that air, that space, that vastness, that greatness, the majesty. all right there.

lake dillon

it’s funny how when i write about these mountains, this place, i can’t seem to stay in the same tense. if she reads this, andrea will shake her head and wonder if i remember anything she taught me about writing back in high school. but there is something that dominates my need for tense-correctness in this writing. it’s the holding-on-feeling-it-still-ness of these moments. it confuses the tense use, but helps me – viscerally – like goose bumps on my skin – remember. so i will forgo correctness for anything to burn these golden moments – like a kiln with raku pottery – into my memory bank, open to draw upon any time i need to.

i cry a lot in the mountains. it’s always good. it’s Divine Intervention reminding me to breathe, touch, taste, see, feel each and every moment. they are vast and great and majestic. every one is our own mountain. and yes, they are calling.

onthetrail2

 

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