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the wisdom of lester. [merely a thought monday]

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we have found that little bits of wisdom are all around us.  we were on the train to chicago when we encountered a wise man named lester.  he seemed a gentle soul, a big man with soft eyes, he was sitting across the aisle from us.  he talked to us about his life, about life in general. he had had a long day already, commuting by numerous trains in a circuitous route to go to a job interview; he wanted to make some changes and the interview he had been to was part of that.

he told us of a relationship he was in – nothing that was all that serious – but there was this woman….  the thing that stuck with us was his comment that in the morning as he awoke with her, she was on her phone….scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.  the early sun bright in the room, this lovely man by her side, she was endlessly looking on various social media platforms for what was trending.  “put down your phone,” he pleaded to the side of her that had forgotten he was even there.  “i’m trending.”

we’ve talked about presence before.  we’ve talked about being in the moment and not missing it.  we’ve talked about gratitude and time together.  we’ve talked about how fleeting time really is.  we’ve talked about relationship and listening and appreciating the place you are, the minute you are in.  and yet, in six words, lester said it better – “put down your phone.  i’m trending.”  wisdom indeed.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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for the new year. [merely a thought monday]

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on this day, the last day of 2018, i am deeply humbled and perspective-arranged reading the attached and feel that there is no way i could possibly add any wisdom or profound emotion to it – it is all there.   please.  read this writing:  A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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shine. [two artists tuesday]

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The Boy is sometimes very wise.  there is this moment from years ago i carry with me, a moment in the kitchen.  i was particularly upset and had been for some time.  it was a time of darkness for me.  my son looked at me and said (words to the effect), “mom.  you are going round and round in a circle.  every time you get close to the top you get pulled back down into the circle.  you need to be a ray.”

as a math person, the circle and ray analogies are good ones.  i can visualize these.  the circle, the cycle.  and a ray makes sense.  starting at one point and going ever-outward.  never returning to the very initial point again.

as a sun person, the ray is also good.  it brings beautiful images of streaming sun through the clouds, of warmth and light.  a ray always brings light; it gives light.  it is light.

good words, my beautiful son.  yes, indeed.  be a ray.  shine.

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shine ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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there is wisdom in dancing! [two artists tuesday]

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jen and brad have been taking dance lessons for months.  their daughter is getting married in a couple of weeks and they want to celebrate-dance under the warm savannah night sky at her reception.  they have been dedicated to this; their lessons are top priority in their social calendar.   from what we can see, their commitment has morphed from we-need-to-be-able-to-dance-well-together to we-love-this-together.  what a gift to see them in their kitchen demonstrating the cool steps they have learned.  they are getting polished and are more and more comfortable with various dances (especially “the push-pull,” jen explains.) mostly, they look like they are really having fun.  truth be told, we don’t know of anything they have committed to that they haven’t thrown their whole hearts into; they are a picture of enthusiasm. they are a joy in our life.

on the other hand, we will look like bumbling-dancers under this same georgia sky.  but that’s not the point.  it is rare that you will be the center of attention when you are dancing – only a few times you are a bride and groom or the parents of or in a do-they-give-booby-prizes? dance competition.  but we love to dance together.  before our wedding, under linda’s (an absolute lover of all dance) tutelage, we learned an irish waltz that will remain one of the stunning moments of our reception in the old southport beachhouse.  what happy dance took place that afternoon and night.

i remember many a day or night blissfully dancing with one of my babies in my arms.  i even remember dancing around the living room solo or holding babycat.  sometimes that was out of delight; sometimes it was in the search for joie de vivre, a yearning for cheer.

we have danced in the front yard, on the deck, in the kitchen in the middle of the night, in church and in airports.  it matters not where you dance.  as long as you dance.  there is wisdom in dancing.

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there is wisdom in dancing!  ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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two artists tuesday

it is well with my soul FRAMED ART PRINT copythe hymn “it is well with my soul” makes me think of the hymn “be still, my soul” which makes me think of mama dear, my grandmother (my sweet momma’s momma.)  (are you still keeping up?)  these two strong women, so alike and yet so different – were both anchors in my world, quietly (and sometimes not-so-quietly) shaping my ability to walk in this world and have faith.  my sweet momma, for my growing-up years, went to church most every sunday.  she and my poppo got dressed up and we would go to christ lutheran church on burr road in east northport.  i got to hang with my best friend sue and we went to youth group and sleepaway camp (cool as it was, those days i was never a really big fan of sleepaway camp) and, together, we memorized the books of the bible in order (i still have no idea what the purpose of this was.)  i can’t remember mama dear going to church as much; she went on some weekends, on holidays with us or to special events.  mama dear had bright red hair, taught me how to sew and adored going to las vegas to play the slot machines.  she was obstinate and somewhat opinionated and one of the loves of my early life.

during the time i went to suffolk county community college, mama dear’s house was within reach and i would go there for lunch or tea.  we’d eat rye-bread-toasted-with-melted-butter and i’d tell her everything that was going on in my life.  she’d listen and, every now and again, she’d say a few words of wisdom.  i could tell her anything.  she let my soul breathe.

i’d come home from school during junior high and high school and my sweet momma and i would sit on the couch and have tea and chips ahoy chocolate chip cookies, my way-back-then favorite store-bought cookies.  we’d talk about my day, the challenges that face girls in high school, cute boys who might have said a word or two, the kids smoking on the bus.  she would listen and, every now and again, she’d say a few words of wisdom.  i could tell her anything.  she let my soul breathe.  matter of fact, she let my soul breathe the whole time i had the privilege of having her physically in my life.  she still does.

we need that.  a place for our souls to breathe.  people with whom we can let our souls breathe.  a faith in this universe that opens us and simultaneously holds us gently and anchors us.  then – we can say:  it is well with my soul.

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IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

 

 


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flawed cartoon wednesday

MASTER turtlenecks jpeg copysisu sue swore by them.  turtlenecks.  she has them in every color, every kind of weave and fabric.  she looks fabulous in them and wears adorable chic jackets over them.  she is one cool and trendy lady and i adore her.

having already started the hot-flasharama-period of my life when we were working together, i would ask her how she could stand having a turtleneck on; it was (and mostly still is) out of my realm of imagination being able to wear a turtleneck and not ripping it off in the middle of -say- the choir room or the train to chicago or in the car while driving.  this oh-so-wise treasured woman told me that someday i would understand.

THAT DAY HAS COME.

i look in the mirror, a few steps of days away from 59, and stare at (you might want to stop reading now) my NECK.  what has HAPPENED?  suddenly, my neck (and chin, for that matter) have become O-L-D.  where has the time gone?  where did my old neck go?  and where did that new chin-under-my-chin come from?

my sweet momma, at 93, looked at me one day and said, “i looked in the mirror and (in a horrified voice) i saw an OLD woman.”  “momma,” i reassured her, “at 93, you are an old woman, but you are a BEAUTIFUL old woman.”  personally, i thought my momma was striking.  every last wrinkle told a story.  every last thing she saw as a flaw.  but my words fell on deaf ears.  she just stared back at me.  probably feeling much the same as me.  delusionally thinking that time would stand still in our necks and chins and -yup- everywhere else.  time and menopause take their toll.

the next time you see me try not to stare at my neck (although i have likely set you up for that.)  i may or may not be wearing a turtleneck.  the ironic part is that a real turtle’s neck really does look a lot like mine.  sheesh.

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don’t you know that turtlenecks are in?!?! ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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andrea’s song

IMG_2711the sound of the cicadas outside brought me back to my childhood home on long island.  we had woods behind our yard and the summer days and nights were a symphony of crickets and cicadas. i would sometimes sit in my poetry tree (a maple outside my bedroom window with perfect limbs for climbing and sitting) late into the day, writing or reading and, although i probably never appreciated the crickets and cicadas as i do now, i would listen as the day would softly pass by. my sweet momma would know where to find me; if i wasn’t riding bikes with sue, at the dive center, fishing with crunch or at the beach, i was likely in that tree.

i wrote a lot of poems in that tree, a lot of reflections, a lot of stories and maybe even a little music…the kind without the music. as i think about the people who encouraged me in writing, one of the first people i think of is andrea. andrea was my high school english teacher. she, along with kevin, were the coolest in the english department. andrea, with kerchiefs in her hair and peace sign necklaces, long skirts and funky glasses, was the epitome of hip. we, painlessly, learned from her teaching style, her quiet wisdom, her laugh, her smile.

andrea was the teacher coordinating the art and literary magazine ‘gemini’ at our high school. i was involved with this annual publication each year, but was the editor-in-chief during my senior year of high school, a job i adored. not only did i get to immerse myself in a lot of poetry and art, but i got to lay out the publication and handle many of the details, all the while hanging out with andrea and having conversations about life and writing and balance.

in the (aaack! many) years since high school i have thought about her often and finally, over the last eight years or so, was able to get back into contact with her.   not only did i want to know how she was, where she was, what she was doing, but i wanted to share with her where i was and what i was doing. mostly, it mattered to me what her thoughts were. during that time we shared snippets of life. i found i could still learn from her teaching style, her quiet wisdom and her smile, even without physically seeing her. at one point she wrote to me, “nothing is idyllic. i think we have idyllic moments. we have to take time to savor what is around us.”   yet another invaluable reminder. how often must we learn these things, i wonder.

when we were planning our trip to boston for this summer, i found myself hoping that we would have the chance to see andrea…meet for coffee, have a glass of wine together. i worried when i didn’t hear back from her; she usually answered email. i was anxious to visit with her, thank her in person for the influence she had had on me, hear what she thought about a project i had sent her. it was about a week before we left, when i was online pondering whether to send her another note, that i saw the very sad news that she had died. i was stunned and (what would maybe seem) inordinately devastated. the connection backwards in time was broken; the opportunity to sit with andrea now vapor.

i thought about extending my sympathies on social media but for some reason that seemed too shallow. there is a loss i feel when i no longer hear the cicadas in the fall…something visceral that i feel inside. the loss of andrea was intensely visceral.

IMG_2708all throughout our home you will find peace signs; each of these signs make me think of this beloved lady in my life, this positive force who, without knowing, kept me writing, thinking, writing.

in my mind’s eye, i can feel sitting in my poetry tree. the cicadas’ song was all around me. as i write now, i cannot help but think about andrea and the things i learned from her, most of which had nothing to do with grammar and punctuation, but instead, with honoring the words within, the emotions, things palpable and things we can’t see or touch.  and so, savoring that learning, in fact, leaning into it, her song is all around me. it’s idyllic.

…peace out…