reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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this part of the journey. exclamation mark. [k.s. friday]

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today my sweet momma would be 98.

she was born in 1921 and saw everything change around her. she stood in a world that saw the great depression, world war II, telephones and cars, movies, televisions and news shows reporting on more wars than she could wrap her head around. her husband was missing in action and then a POW shot down over bulgaria, all while she was expecting a baby. she gave birth to their first child while my poppo was still a POW and stood in faith that he would return as that little girl died.

momma built a life with my dad, all the while navigating veteran-ptsd that hadn’t yet been labeled. but she figured it out. she held her ground, both supportive and snapping to action or to “words” as she would call arguments between them.

my sweet momma wore stockings and pumps “to business” and had housecoats with snaps, long flowing mumus and finally, at long last, blue jeans and keds for relaxing. momma drove a mean stick shift and, because they were a one-car family for the longest time, walked to the king kullen and dairy barn for groceries and milk. she turned her very green thumb over to my dad after he retired, likely to keep him out of her hair for a bit of time.

she volunteered as the girl scout president and in aarp alongside my dad. she loved wood and glass; she loved to paint with oils. she loved lists and calendars and math and writing and doing the laundry any time she was stressed. she wrote old-fashioned letters with pen and paper. she adored her word processor and then the computer and finally, her beloved iphone. anything to stay in touch. she texted, she called, she facebooked, she mistakenly took pictures of the ceiling and sent them on errant trips out to the ethers. momma loved to coffee sit and have english muffins or crumb cake or danish or chocolate chip cookies or pie. and she made extra homemade french fries every time she knew I was visiting so we could sit, drink iced tea, eat cold french fries and talk.

she didn’t let fear overtake her. she was strong in every way. she credited being from new york, but i credit just her – she just went with the flow and sort of ignored anything that got in the way, including any physical challenge that presented itself. two days after a double mastectomy at 93 she sat on the side of the hospital bed and, in good humor, sassed everyone around.

she loved that everyone called her beaky. and i mean everyone.

her journey was long, her experiences rich. she was an exclamation mark in life. she celebrated people and love and moments and I miss her.  so much.

but it is part of my journey to miss her.

each of us bring to our journey our own punctuation. sometimes i think i am an ellipsis, but i realize that applies to all of us. we go on…

if i got to choose what singular punctuation i would want to be, i would want to be an exclamation mark, just like my sweet momma. for this part of my journey. for every part of the journey.

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THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1998, 2000 kerri sherwood

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take flight. [k.s. friday]

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i have a seagull collection.  much like my horse collection, my seagull collection is much bigger in my memory than in the actual bin-in-the-basement.  when i opened what i thought was a big stable of horse figurines, i was shocked to find that my i-packed-it-in-1972-according-to-the-newspapers-in-the-box brain had overestimated the numbers…by a lot.  my seagull collection, on the other hand, was packed a bit later – more like 1980 – and i had a (little bit) better memory about how many jonathan livingston seagulls i had collected through the years.

growing up on long island i loved seagulls.  never too far from the beach, they were everywhere, but i spent great periods of time beach-sitting winter/spring/summer/fall watching them swoop and holler, screeching at their scavenged finds.  richard bach created a whole seagull community metaphor and i fell right in.

i can still smell the wet sand, see the seaweed washed ashore on pebbles i collected even back then, feel the sun, even the winter sun, on my face.  it all made me breathe differently.  it all made me think and grow and dream.

john denver’s song the eagle and the hawk spoke to me back then.  his simple lyrics prompted me to let those dreams TAKE FLIGHT.

“And all of those who see me, and all who believe in me
Share in the freedom I feel when I fly.
Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops,
Sail o’er the canyons and up to the stars.
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future,
And all that we can be and not what we are”

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TAKE FLIGHT from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1997 & 2000 kerri sherwood

 


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


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when the fog lifts. [k.s. friday]

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“…the other end of the process of living through uncertainty…” (liner notes)

sometimes when we drive along third avenue, right around the corner from our house, the fog totally obscures lake michigan.  you would never know it was even there.  you can’t see where the shoreline is, you can’t see the expanse of lake.  further down the road, you can’t see the beach, the waves, the jetty.  it is as if, for this time, the lake and the sky are one; neither exist and both exist.

this duality, this co-existence…is what this piece is about.  the presence of clarity and the presence of haze.  when i read my liner notes this morning, i sighed.  i wrote them in 1997 – (a shocking) twenty-two years ago.  i was 38.  i must have thought there was an “end” to uncertainty then.  and, at the time, i must have interpreted the fog, the mist, in a somewhat negative way, as something to get “through”, relief at the other end.

and then the fog lifts over the lake and there is differentiation of planes.  the sky becomes sky; the lake becomes lake.  until the next fog rolls in.

this month i will turn 60.  it takes me a few seconds for that to sink in each time i think about it.  were i to re-record this piece now, i would slow it down.  i would linger in the fog a little longer, not so afraid of it, of its mystery.  i’m still learning to embrace the fog, still learning to watch for the sky when it lifts, still learning that both can co-exist:  clarity and uncertainty.  nothing is really clear in life.  nothing is absolute.  we keep stepping. it is truly all a little foggy.  i now think it’s supposed to be that way.

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WHEN THE FOG LIFTS from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1997, 2000 kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 


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you hold me. [k.s. friday]

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‘you-hold-me’s i will always remember…  among the more-than-i-can-count-mom-heart-moments, one of the last times My Boy fell asleep on my lap and i knew – at the age he was then, rounding 5 or 6 – it was something to hold onto.  or the time he, all-grown-up, bent down and, one more time, hugged me goodbye.  precious time dancing to marvin gaye with My Girl in the sitting room, her favorite infant-lullaby.  the bittersweet-tender-time-stood-still time she – as an adult – fell asleep while i held her.   in o’hare airport when d just held me while, with people swirling around us, we were lost in reuniting, in recognition.   the greetings we get from dogdog and babycat every single time we arrive home.  the hugs we get inside the door to our best friends’ house, their big beloved dogs jostling for attention.  the memory of watching my sweet momma and poppo hold hands as they walked, always…those linked hands grasping each other.  watching my momma hold my dad’s hand at the side of his last hospital bed, nodding off, both of them, but holding on.  ‘you-hold-me’s aren’t always just about you.

in these times, in any time, the simple feeling of being held – a quick hug or embrace that goes on and on – is the one true thing.  it doesn’t solve any problem, take away a worry, change any circumstance.  but it is a reminder that you are not alone.  you are woven of and into so much more.  and you are held – by your family, by your children, by your friends, by this good earth, by a higher power.  in appreciation of you.  in a bigger thing called love.

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YOU HOLD ME from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1997 & 2000 kerri sherwood

 

 


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(it is) as it is. [k.s. friday]

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ken calls this my MUSH album.  he is an amazing producer and i feel fortunate to call him my dear friend as well.  he produced 14 of my albums and, although one of my albums and a few vocal singles were done in nashville, now i can’t really imagine any other recording projects without him.

MUSH stands for made-up-shi* and is aptly named.  this album came at a really inspired time for me.  artists have their highs and lows, inspiration-wise, and this was one of the highs.  i’ve mentioned the story before, but i’ll short-story it here again:  i had a list of titles – titles i wanted to use eventually for compositions; i carried a notebook and scraps of paper everywhere i went.  i had this list with me as i recorded two other full-length albums in nyc at yamaha artist services.  in-between recording the two other albums, i would choose a title and play it.  simply play it.  my heart is laid out in the tracks of this cd; every title was meaningful to me, every piece tells what it means.

AS IT IS is the title track so it’s interesting that i gave over the melody line to a flute, the only piece on all of my albums that has a flutist playing.  it’s also rare for me to step away from the piano and, in the production-post-initial-recording phase, play a keyboard.  but life is like that. you have to give over sometimes.  the texture changes.  the melody isn’t yours to own; sometimes you are support staff.  make peace with it.  it is as it is.

AS IT IS:  life.  we are right here…where we are supposed to be in this part of the journey…the best time is now.  simply because life is as it is. (liner notes)

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AS IT IS from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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time together. [k.s. friday]

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the air coming through the windows this morning felt cool.  almost chilly.  it has been a long while since the last time i could say that of a morning here.  we have had a very hot, very humid summer…not my favorite combination.  but today.  it was different.  and it made me feel immediately homesick.  that happens every fall for me.  maybe it’s a melancholy recognition of the passing of time, years zooming by.  maybe it’s the season-change-thing…we know grey days are lurking right around the corner.  either way, i feel homesick.

it’s a time when i miss long island the most, recall my growing-up years, pine for the autumn at millneck manor and long deserted-beach walks at crab meadow.  a time when my sweet momma and poppo are really present for me in their absence, if that makes sense.  i yearn to talk to them.  a time when The Girl and The Boy seem oh-so-grown-up now, steeped in their own adult-lives, having adventures and being a dynamic part of this world, far away, without the benefit of hearing ‘good night moon’ every night.  i know that every evening they roll their eyes at my goodnight texts to them, but i figure that someday they will understand.  homesick.

yesterday was my father-in-law’s 85th birthday.  we called columbus and sang ‘happy birthday’ to him.  my momma and daddy did that every year for me and i try to carry on the tradition with the people i love.  he laughed and told us he had gotten back from dinner at texas roadhouse and was listening to an old record.  he listens to old records a lot.  i suspect, because he is the man he is, that he gets homesick.  i can tell by his eyes that he would totally understand me if i told him how i felt.

so today, if you are spending time together with someone, memorize it.  if you are lucky enough to spend time with your momma or your daddy, please hug them.  if you are one of the fortunate parents who have their children nearby, hold on just a little tighter and look into their faces when you say goodnight.  relish it.

there is nothing like it.

time together.

 

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TIME TOGETHER from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1997, 2000 kerri sherwood