out there ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood
my sweet momma used to quip, “make new friends, but keep the old. one is silver and the other’s gold.” i believe it came from her girl scout leadership days. a song, those are wise lyrics.
OLD FRIENDS appears in two versions on my first album RELEASED FROM THE HEART. as track 3, OLD FRIENDS is a longer composition, a wide passionate spectrum of emotion. as track 13, OLD FRIENDS REVISITED is shorter, quieter, more reflective, even wistful.
about my very oldest friends i feel both ways. i am passionate about remembering (always remembering) my long island friendships, susan and marc and crunch and joe-z, especially. times spent growing, talking, arguing, debating, adventuring, laughing, camping, driving, beaching, traveling, listening to music, frisbee-ing, making apple pies, biking, boating, scuba-diving, fishing, living life. i look back in my mind’s eye wistfully and am filled with love for them.
about my old friends and my new friends i feel both ways. i am passionate about how they stand in it with me. they each know who they are reading this. they will recognize themselves when i thank them for times spent together. for the times they supported me when i needed it, for the times they supported me when i didn’t need it. for the times they have listened and talked when i needed it, for the times they have listened and talked when i didn’t need it. for adventures, laughter, good food, coffee and wine. for playing music, scouring around for fun stuff to do, antiquing, dancing, pontoon-boating, playing games, potlucking, sharing opinions and challenging assumptions, giving and receiving words of wisdom, and the telling of our stories. so much life; i know it would be impossible to do without them and i am filled with love for them.
we are fortunate, we human beings. we are aware of our friends, the ever-giving gift of friendship. remembering. always remembering.
and we know the value of silver and gold.
OLD FRIENDS from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood
“the box: a place to put all the stuff of our lives.” (from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL liner notes 1996)
the old black suitcases store stuff. treasured moments, all in a jumble, some decipherable, others bits and snatches of times we want to remember, so we keep these feathers and ticket stubs, notes and river stones, scraps of wrap, cards, red rock. they proudly sit in the dining room, in a stack, their vintage scrapes and broken handles call to me each time i pass them by. they shower me with memories and times i have passed through, moments i have lived. i can feel what is in them.
in another box, in another place, are old dreams. torn vestiges of paper with lyrics, a few notes scribbled in the margins of old spirals. there are visions and imaginings, goals and undetermined outcomes. like you, these are the things undone. there are no ticket stubs or photos in this box; these are the things that have not come to fruition. these are the things that beckon over and over. these are the things that demand i consider and reconsider what i am doing today, tomorrow. these are the things that make me question. each time i pass them by. i can feel what is in them.
i am reminded:
“a ship in harbor is safe. but that is not what ships are built for.” (john a. shedd)
these are the full liner notes:
“the box: a place to put all the stuff of our lives. sometimes this place really hurts.” (BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL 1996)
THE BOX from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 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
i remember writing this. i was coming out of storms and it felt like i was, at last, rising like a weak sun in the dense fog, slowly but surely burning off the fog. it was my right-now.
i wonder how many times in life we re-do that. like the movie groundhog day, we re-live again and again the process of coming out of the mess, the stress, the worry. life seems fraught with those storms and fog sometimes. we yearn for steady, for clear skies, for brilliant sun.
when the day is done and we go to sleep with wrinkled brow, we try, albeit sometimes futilely, to remember that right-now passes into the next. this very ‘right-now’ will soon be ‘before’.
there will be a new day. a new right-now. new hope.
RIGHT NOW from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood
every fall, my sweet momma and my poppo would load us up in the dodge with the old wicker picnic basket and a small cooler. we would drive out east on long island or head north into upstate new york. the baby of the family with siblings already out of the house, i always had a friend along. susan went everywhere with us. we would take mad libs and gum, snacks and cans of soda and we would talk and giggle our way to the apple farm.
it wasn’t like we couldn’t find apples near us; the jaunt away to apple-picking was the point. the walk in the orchard, the drive through leaves of indescribably stunning color. we’d stop at roadside picnic tables and take back country roads. we’d go to fall festivals and arboretums where mums and the latest-hanging-on sunflowers populated the walkways. millneck manor was one of those places. so was planting fields. treasured memories of time spent together.
a while later, as a young adult, i continued the tradition. when the weather insisted on sweaters and jeans, i would make my pilgrimage to millneck manor and to planting fields, maybe driving out east or upstate.
and now, a long while later, i think of those places, those times. the memories are sweet, macintosh-apple-sweet. but the yearning is real. every autumn makes me just as wistful. i think of my children jumping in leaves and pumpkins carved with silly faces. my parents and the old dodge. pies with homemade crust, hot soup and cocoa, the smell of cinnamon and caramel candles. fires in the fireplace or outside around the firepit. jeans, sweaters, boots. and apples.
MILLNECK FALL from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood
“do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” (credit for quote is unclear)
this sounds like a good mantra for one’s life. it would seem that it would bring satisfaction and accomplishment to someone invested in its mission. it would seem that it would create joy for others. it would seem that, were everyone to simply live by this precept, the world could actually be a place of peace.
but people are not infallible and personal agendas reign over the collective. competition is fierce and the caste system hasn’t vaporized. people keep score and vindication is a driving force. people are self-serving and power-controlling and will knock those down in the way.
children are not born with the desire to exploit others or minimalize or marginize them. they are not born with hatred in their hearts. children are born with the ability to embrace all, include all. they are not born with a scorecard in their hands. they are born with the generosity of innocence. they are not born with fear of places and peoples different than them. they learn that.
we can teach our children to play nice. but we need model it first. we need do all we can.
ALL YOU CAN from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood