reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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we all wait. [d.r. thursday]

they wait

anticipation.  it’s the stuff of songs.  the stuff of great love.  the stuff of waiting for the worst to be over.  the stuff of all moms everywhere.

we wait.  we wait for them to be born.  we wait for them to fall asleep.  we wait for them outside the elementary school, gleefully skipping down the sidewalk toward us.  and then we wait for them outside the middle school, hidden in the shadows down the road to avoid seventh grade embarrassment.  we wait for them at the end of sport meets and music recitals, to congratulate or cajole.  we wait for them after the day is done at school. we wait for them to return home in the family car.  we lay awake, waiting for them a wee bit past curfew.  we wait for them to return home from college.  we wait for them to come home from afar.  we wait for them to say, “yes, all is well,” and we wait for them to sound genuinely happy.  we are not settled if they are not settled.

and now we wait – apart.  all of us.

we all wonder what day it is and we wonder when this waiting will be over.  we look to each other – on texts, on the phone, on social media, on videoconferencing – for words of wisdom, for encouragement, for reassurance, for a chance to say, “yes, i feel that way, too!”  we need meet on common ground; we are alive and we are vested in staying well and staying safe.  so we compare notes and share ideas and recipes and cartoons and articles and youtube songs and moments that make us weep.

and, like the day that your beloved child doesn’t tell you of their arrival ahead, surprises you and makes your heart swell with joy by walking in the front door, we wait for the hoped-for-but-unexpected.  the flattened curve.  the antibodies that prevail over the virus.   the vaccine.  the end of this profound worry, this herculean effort of medical workers, this exponentially terrifying pandemic.  in our world, our country, our state, our community, our midst.  in our circle.

we know one of these days this too shall pass.  and in the meanwhile, we are honing our waiting skills.  becoming adept at patience and being in the moment, not sure of what day it is exactly, but sure of the passing of days.  time will bring us to a new day and one of these days, just like our grown child unexpectedly bursting through the front door, Next will burst in and exclaim, “surprise!  i am here!”  and our hearts will explode with gratitude.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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THEY WAIT ©️ 2018 david robinson

 


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weeping man. [d.r. thursday]

Weeping Man copy

we watched global citizen’s concert ‘together at home’ on saturday night.  this virtual concert featured a wide spectrum of celebrities and musicians and raised about $128 million for the world health organization as well as local and regional frontline healthcare workers in support of covid-19 relief.  despite wildly varying opinions about this effort, i would have been proud to play in the midst of this.  it was about humanity.  some of it was pretty raw.  people were in their homes, many the likes of which i will never enter.  they were with their instruments, they were playing or singing songs they felt would resonate with those watching.  a few were, as expected, clearly voice-tracked.  a few were, as expected, a bit ego-tainted.  split-screen performances and technology raised the bar for musicians everywhere.  but it was a moment in time – eight hours in total between online and on-air – when you could see that all of us grieve and yearn the same way.  no matter the size of your mansion or tiny house, no matter the grammys on your shelf or the lack thereof, this global pandemic is just that – global- and is not discerning of your privilege.  it does not care.  it can take anyone.  and so we weep.

if there is a painting that depicts the face-holding grief and prayerful yearning for hope, it is this painting WEEPING MAN.

i wonder if he weeps for those who have fallen ill, those who have died.  i wonder if he weeps for those who refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of this pandemic.  i wonder if he weeps for those on the front lines, helping.  i wonder if he weeps for those who have hidden in extravagant bunkers underground in far away countries.  i wonder if he weeps for our isolation.  i wonder if he weeps watching people intolerant of the isolation that will protect others, people who are selfishly and arrogantly protesting stay-at-home orders.  i wonder if he weeps for the unrelenting non-discrimination of this contagion or if he weeps for the divisiveness of responsibility-taking, the it-doesn’t-affect-me attitude.  i wonder if he weeps for the continuance of humanity.  or if he weeps for the loss of humankind.  or, if he weeps for the lack of humaneness.  i wonder if he weeps because, in the middle of this trying and profound now,  Next will come.  i wonder if this painting is tomorrow’s tomorrow and he weeps with relief and hope.

THIS all exists.  for each of us.   it isn’t always good.  it isn’t always not-good.

there are those moments.  the moments you weep openly, the moments you cover your face to cry, the moments of overwhelm, the moments of absolute weariness that, despite all evidence to the contrary in your tired mind and body, actually do lead to Next.  times you feel alone, times of sorting, times of grief, times of fragile vulnerability, times of regret.  the times you put your face in your hands and weep…

and there are those moments.  the moments you weep openly, the moments you cover your face to cry, the moments of stunning awe, the moments of sheer exhaustion at your goal-line, moments that actually do lead to Next.  times you feel enamored of life itself, times of incredulity, times of unquestionable good fortune, times of serendipity, times of simple all-consuming sweet love.  the times you put your face in your hands and weep…

we recognize it.  we can feel it.  and we know that in another moment he -or she, for there is no pronoun-hogging here- will slowly raise his head out of his hands and Next will have arrived.  (reverse threading, and so he weeps, january 17, 2019)

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

to view or negotiate purchasing this painting, please visit the virtual gallery here

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WEEPING MAN ©️ 2015 david robinson

 

 


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hope in the midnight sun. [d.r. thursday]

EARTHInterrupted7.THIS ONEJPG

EARTH INTERRUPTED VII 48″X36″

we drew heavy curtains to sleep in the land of the midnight sun.  my grandmother mama dear and i were in the arctic circle in finland and, much to the fascination of my eight year old mind, the sun refused to set.  i remember a twilight like no other – a time of in-between that just lasted and lasted, not day, not night.  it was stunning and magical and wreaked havoc on circadian rhythms, necessitating new practices.

EARTH INTERRUPTED VII makes me think of that twilight, that time in the river of not-this-not-that.  a time of waiting, it appears that the telescope zeroed in on earth detects an interruption, a wafting darkness.  in this time of pandemic, it would seem a portrait of covid-19.

but, as in all other times of darkness, there exists a glow of light.  the blackness is dissipating, the shape of the earth is visible, the twilight is vibrant.  this painting offers radiant hope.

just like pulling back the curtains in lapland, the sun will rise and we will have awakened from the strange twilight.  we will have lost much to the dark.  we will have learned new ways, employed new rituals.  we will be tired and wary, cautious yet sure.  we will have crossed the river of the midnight sun into a new day.

view this painting on david’s virtual gallery

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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EARTH INTERRUPTED VII ©️ 2018 david robinson

 


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there is a place, a canopy. [d.r. thursday]

canopy

CANOPY 48″x48″

there is a place on a washington island road where the rest of the world disappears.  you are walking alongside forest and can see the sky as you look up, tall trees framing blue, the sound of sandhill cranes and red-eyed vireos accompanying your steps.  and then you enter this place.  the trees gently arc over the road and you are covered by a canopy; we have sheltered in this spot during more than one sudden rainfall.  even in the bright day, the green above you – which turns to brilliant umber, rich red, flaming orange during summer’s release on the forest – allows for little light.  and at dusk, while the sun sinks into the water hundreds of feet away, walking in the middle of the road, it is dark-dark, the canopy a lure for night creatures, safe in the shadows.

there is a place in a tree in the yard of my growing-up house outside the window of my old room where the branches invited sitting.  for hours i would sit there, write, ponder.  in the summer the maple seemed to grant me privacy from the world, its branches full of leaves and canopying my little spot.  a shelter.

there was a place in the wooden structure in our backyard that had a yellow awning that made a fort.  when My Girl and My Boy were little they would play up there for hours, The Boy lining up matchbox cars, The Girl often reading a book.  a special space, this little fort, it was hard when it was time to dismantle it and pass it on to friends with little ones.

these places of shelter – places of canopy – provide such a sense of protection, a sense of being held from harm – from the elements, away from others, in our own private place.  much like our homes, they can give us pause, a deep breath, safety.

in this time of distancing and stay-safe-stay-at-home, i look around our house and give thanks for its canopy of shelter, for the way it holds us from harm, for the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years it keeps us safe.

view CANOPY on david’s virtual gallery

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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CANOPY ©️ 2009 david robinson

 

 

 


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apples and bananas. [d.r. thursday]

Eve copy

EVE 48″ x 48″

like many of you, i have laid awake many nights now.  exhausted when i lay my head down and then, voila!, wide awake.  the middle of the night has many monsters these days.  it used to be that as i lay awake and would get hungry and hungrier, i would convince david that the perfect thing, rousing him from sleep, would be to have a 3am bowl of cereal together.  since we went dairy-gluten-free i’ve substituted and have chosen a banana in the wee hours.  somewhere i read that bananas are sleep aids, so waking david up to have a banana seemed like i was helping him.  but now, we have no bananas.

we need to go to the grocery store.  but it’s complicated, with disinfecting wipes during our trip there and being absolutely careful upon our return home to wash everything or store it for a period of time.  it’s important, vital.  we step back from the person who is a  personal-space-invader.  we make room on the walking path for those coming the other way.  we marvel at the recklessness of large numbers of people still gathering in spaces.  we weep for those who have succumbed to a disease that is apparently sorely underestimated.

this painting, eve, is a beautiful landscape of color and shape.  eve, religiously historic as the first woman.

is it possible that the apple of eve and adam, the one in the story from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, could now be seen as a casualness toward the spread of this pandemic, a cavalier attitude, a lack of regard toward social distancing or the peril facing citizens, medical personnel, workers at essential businesses?   the apple that, in the story, changed everything, for all time?

another reason to choose bananas.

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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EVE ©️ 2004 david robinson

 


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just being there. [d.r. thursday]

k.Dot Dogga BCat copy

there are moments when both dogga and babycat seem to be on the same page.  sweetly tuned in to our every emotion, they put aside their own agenda to curl up, their warm bodies tucked in against one or both of us, just being there.

in this time of necessary and vigilant waiting, as we defer to healthcare workers, scientists, the experts, all in their prodigious work, perhaps this is the most potent aid we can offer.  to curl our warmth and any practical and safe help we can muster around each other.  to acknowledge each other’s worry, each other’s fear, each other’s process.  to be tuned in, to listen, to offer words of comfort.  to stand with each other, hold each other’s hands, even from afar.  to quietly just be there.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 4.09.09 PM

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©️ 2020 david robinson


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lost. [d.r. thursday]

Peri Winkle Square copy

lost.

in these times.  the emotional upheaval is exhausting.  worry is the crux of insomnia.  we measure every step, every decision.  we look to each other for reassurance, for a fast-receding touch of normalcy.  we feel…lost.

in these times.   we remember other times we felt this way.  other times of confusion and fear, of social responsibility and adherence to new rules, new realities.  too many calamities to name, it seems.  too many times…lost.

this little book Peri Winkle Rabbit Was Lost was the product of such a time, as david created it – a one-of-a-kind – in response for a call for a children’s book that addressed the tragic hurricane katrina, a book given to children that offered empathy for the plight in which they were standing, their lost.

we, as artists, do what we can to offer comfort, to bring a little solace, a moment of breathing, a slice of hope in darkness, a tiny map in lost-ness.

we, as people, look to the arts for a little solace, a moment of breathing, a slice of hope in darkness, a tiny map in lost-ness.

in these times.  standing in the darkness with each of you.  maybe together we will not feel as lost.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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PERI WINKLE RABBIT WAS LOST ©️ 2005 david robinson

 

 

 

 


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faith takes a little practice. [d.r. thursday]

sometimesfaith WITH EYES jpeg copy 2

blind faith.  every day.  dare i say that is the way we live?

live (verb): to be alive or have life.  we rise, we go about our day, never really certain what or who will cross our path, never absolute about any single thing we might encounter or be challenged by or be gifted with.  we make plans, we have hopes, we dream of freely checking off that which is on our list-of-things-to-do and our bucket list.

in this moment now, we cannot see the moment of the past or the moment of the future, but we know that they are there; they exist.  there is much we cannot see.  words that elicit emotional response but nothing you can see as a thing with your eyes – love, grace, forgiveness, freedom.  you can see evidence of them but not an actual thing, like the simplicity of a table or a chair.  faith is one of those amorphous things.  present as a gentle reassurance, zealous as a fire in your heart.  you can no sooner lasso faith as you can lasso love.  both are omnipotent; both are invincible.

“well i will walk by faith, even when i cannot see.” (walk by faith – jeremy camp)

and so we keep walking, never really knowing anything for sure.  we trust.  we trust the next day will come.  we trust we understand these words that capture that which we cannot see; we embrace them.  we trust we have life and that #allwillbewell.

but it suggests giving over to something bigger than us.  it suggests belief in a universe where we are aligned with each of the stars in the milky way, where we are equally important – each of us, where we are held and richly loved and granted grace and forgiveness.  where we lay our heads down to sleep and rest, believing, blindly, that next will come with the sun.

none of it is easy – our lives are not pre-scripted for ease.  but we have been gifted with big hearts, thinking minds and the ability to keep on, despite all of life’s ambiguity.

my sweet momma loved these words, “breathe in faith.  exhale fear.”  no real proof.  unless of course you count all those around you who love you, who have loved you and who will love you.  the grace you have been granted with each day.  that new day that comes.

“none of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward.  because we trust.  because we have faith.” (paulo coelho)

sometimes it takes a little practice.  one foot in front of the other.  stepping lightly.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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CHICKEN MARSALA ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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put your fingers on the keys. [d.r. thursday]

putyourfingersonthekeys WITH EYES jpeg copy 2

nine.  i have nine fingers i can use right now.  and, like chicken marsala, i am putting them on the keys and following the music.  two weeks after breaking my wrists i was back playing and directing.  who needs wrists anyway?  who needs all ten fingers?

music can’t be stopped.  it’s in the sound of the sunrise, the sound of your baby waking up, the sound of the clink of coffee cups.  it’s humming as you ready for your day, singing along in the car, laughter shared over the phone.  it’s in the hug you give your children as you drop them at school and the help you give your aging parents.  it’s in dinner you prepare for loved ones, and in the volunteering you do for a local service organization.  it’s in the walk in the woods, a stroll by the water’s edge.  it’s in the quiet weary at the end of the evening, the sighs of a life-day done well.  it’s in dreams and in hope. and it can’t be stopped.

we will always turn to the arts for comfort, for meaning, in joy and in sorrow.  the music follows us; it surrounds us.  it waits silently, ready to volume-up when necessary, hush-down when needed.  it’s background.  it’s foreground.

we need only put our fingers on the keys.

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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CHICKEN MARSALA ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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assumptions. [d.r. thursday]

assumeawe WITH EYES jpeg copy

the sun lights our room early in the morning.  we don’t have room-darkening shades so   if artificial measures haven’t been used (read: obnoxious alarm clocks) we wake with the light.

thoughts stream in with the light in this just-past-the-dark-hour.  our quiet as we sip coffee, like jiffy-pop starting to pop on a hot stovetop, is punctuated by bits of conversation.  the dreams we are climbing out of, the babycat’s snoring through the night, dogdog’s sweet need for early pets, what the weather looks like out our window peering into the backyard, projects we are working on, what is on the docket for the day.  ideas, reminiscences patter through.  we stretch into the day yawning in front of us, putting on, and trying to keep on, caps of making-good-assumptions.  today is a good day to have a good day, as the saying goes.

good assumptions.  apparently, they are a high ticket item.  for we all are, in the world, surrounded by those who do not make good assumptions.  my sweet momma would tell me, “don’t jump to conclusions.”  “ask questions,” she would admonish. a difficult lesson worth oft-repeating.

we would sit on the couch at the end of the day, sipping tea and eating chips ahoy cookies.  we’d talk about the day, bitter jabs by classmates or exclusionary moments i had endured.  “try to find something good,” she’d remind me, while at the same time not underplaying the hurtful behaviors.  “make good assumptions.”  this is the same woman who, on the emergency room table in the wee hours of the night, in great pain and fearing a broken hip, looked up at a cranky and tired nurse and remarked, “you have a beautiful smile.”  it changed the moment; i suspect it changed the rest of the nurse’s day; perhaps it changed all those who she interacted with thereafter and so forth.  those undeniable concentric circles.

in early days with david, clearly in the beaky-beaky school of thought, one of the most-oft-repeated things i remember him saying is “ask questions.”  don’t assume you know.  don’t assume anything.  ask.  listen.

quite some time ago, mike stated, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.”  watch, ask questions and listen, he advised.  don’t make assumptions.  the best way to learn, the best way to collaborate, the best way to approach challenge, the best way to move in the world.

momma would smile and look at me, facing down adversity or standing tall on a personal summit, and say, “wowee!”

i can practically hear her now, her eyes dancing, saying, “see?  if you ARE going to assume anything, assume awe.”

thank you, chicken marsala, for the reminder.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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CHICKEN MARSALA ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood