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the rest area. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

rest area

we haven’t just dreamed at the rest area.  we have out and out drooled at the rest area.  faces planted against the window, pillow smushed between forehead and glass, i’m sure we’ve been a spectacle.

one time we pulled into a rest area in iowa when it was still dark.  we chose a spot close to the building.  we just needed a few minutes to close our eyes.  when we woke up, the sun was up, the rest area was full of people coming and going and our bodies were stiff from a shocking three hours of rest-area-sleeping.  barely able to move, i slowly unfurled from my up-close-and-personal relationship with the steering wheel and d attempted to bring his foot down from the dashboard.  with plenty of square-car-glass making us visible – like a snowglobe scene without the snow –  we were right in the line of vision of absolutely anyone who had stopped to use the facilities.  our wrinkled faces and the fog on the windows next to our baked-sweet-potato-smushy-visages belied any other story except resting-at-the-rest-area.  i’m sure we were charming to look at.

it is not without stopping at a few rest areas that little baby scion has 237,000 miles on it.  our road warrior days are accompanied by snacks and punctuated by rest areas.  it’s a roadtrip symphony of necessities.

when we were driving long distance just a few days ago we googled the approximate distance across the united states, which, surprisingly,  is around 3000 miles.  (kansas and pennsylvania and north dakota make it seem so much further, and, going the other way, so do georgia and indiana.)   but i digress.  so that means that the current mileage equates to having driven this little vehicle 79 times across the country.

we have visited rest areas in most states in this nation and we can tell you where the nice ones are, like the ones in ohio on i80.  we can also tell you where the scary ones are:  montana, a certain rest area down south where you drive about a mile off the road and a couple security guards watch you walk in and out of the building.  you can get a free cup of coffee at the rest area on the eastern side of colorado and orange or grapefruit juice entering florida.  you can get maps and brochures at most rest areas and the ones in indiana specialize in those magazines where you can find coupons for hotels you would rather not stay in.  pennsylvania has full-service areas, as does one little spot in kansas.  you can “eat and get gas” as they say, the word-smithing on that not expected to be classy.  you are reminded that this is a rest area, after all.

the rest area on the way home from on-island is always a stopping ground these days.  for various reasons we won’t list, the little blue sign on the side of the road is a welcome sight and we eagerly pull into a spot.  recently, after packing for hours and then leaving, we leaned back and closed our eyes at this wayside.  full-out dreaming commenced.  when we woke, which wasn’t too long after, we shared notes and our surprise about falling asleep in a matter of minutes.  d said, “if you can dream at the rest area, you’re supposed to be there.” yup.  i bet all kinds of safety engineers would agree with that.

it was in iowa again – this state must make us tired – just a few days ago on a trip when we traveled 24 hours in a 36 hour period of time.  having sampled (read: gorged on) the whole buffet of snacks, i was driving, desperately seeking the little blue sign, pining for the chance to close my eyes.

alas, finally.  the rest area.  we pulled in.  d handed me a pillow.  i laid my face against the window.  and voila!  a sight to behold.

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

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not. [two artists tuesday]

kindnessSCHITTSCREEK.jpg

granted, schitt’s creek is not a shining example of serious shows.  nor is it the apex of intelligent, thought-provoking viewing.  but we had run out of parenthood (still sniffling over the bitter end) and this is us and everest movies and documentaries and decided to try on something new.  we chose schitt’s creek.

it quickly became apparent to us that the humor in this show was not necessarily in alignment with our sense of humor, but we watched anyway.  we decided it was a study.

the stunning moment came when one of the characters looked at another and, in complete candor, said, “kindness is a sign of weakness.”

we sat and looked at each other, the glow of the moon on water out the window.  we dove deep into those words.  after much debate and a search for profundity, we realized that in this country, at this time, with these circumstances, it was a true statement.  kindness is not where it’s at, not what gets you ahead.  it is without power and control.  its calmness is terrifyingly missing in national goings-on, in international goings-on, in dealings with people even close-up and personal with agendas that serve only themselves.  kindness has left the building in more places than we would care to think about.  but a weakness?  not.

beaky, my sweet momma, said, “be kind.  be kind to each other.”  and she damn well meant it.  it may not have served her as well as being arrogantly demanding might have.  it may not have served her as well as being haughty, nasty, biting might have.  but it leaves a legacy for her that i am proud to speak about.  it is a rare treat to see someone not take sh*t from someone else and do it with strong backbone in a kind way.  my sweet momma was well-practiced.

and, i might add, she was not weak.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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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

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the music waits. [k.s. friday]

wait a while songbox

there was not room on island for my piano, sheets of blank score paper, baskets of notebooks of lyrics, melody smidges, chord progression fragments.  they waited at home for my return.

consumed by many tasks and layers of work since we arrived back home, we are surrounded by boxes and bins still unpacked.  there is much to do.  we have many other things tugging at us and these packed boxes, although frustratingly in the way, have sunk to a lower rung on the list of things-to-do.

i have been in and out of my studio, grabbing music as i need it, playing through a piece here and there, reviewing music for work.  i have added a few notes to notebooks, to my calendar, a line of lyric here and there to remember on scraps i hope not to lose.

the other day i pulled out cds, finding a few with pieces that didn’t get tracked.  rough cuts of piano for under lyrics, rough cuts of piano instrumentals.  every artist has them…the cuts that didn’t get finished, the cuts that didn’t make it to the album.  scraps of paper, notebooks of ideas, rough cuts of beginnings.  they all eventually lead somewhere.  no idea, no melodic gesture, no lyric stands alone.

and so, my really beautiful big resounding piano waits for me as i am quiet.  pencils i’ve saved from The Boy’s and The Girl’s pencilboxes sit atop, next to blank score paper, notebooks and pa pads.  they all wait.  the muse waits.  the music waits.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THIS ROUGH CUT ON OUR WEBSITE

CLICK HERE FOR iTUNES

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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WAIT A WHILE ROUGH CUT et al ©️ 1995-2019 kerri sherwood


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the brushes wait. [d.r. thursday]

Paint Box

there was not room on island for an easel, canvases, this cart of paints and this beautiful wooden box of brushes.  they waited at home for david’s return.

consumed by many tasks and layers of work since we arrived back home, we are surrounded by boxes and bins still unpacked.  there is much to do.  we have many other things tugging at us and these packed boxes, although frustratingly in the way, have sunk to a lower rung on the list of things-to-do.

d spent a bit of time rearranging his studio to accommodate some new items passed to him and some things to help store for 20.   in those moments, the brushes and paint spoke to him.  a bit of time, some available canvas, an easel lit by basement spots.  it doesn’t take much for the juju to revive itself, for the muse to gently remind you that it’s there, waiting.

and so, there will be more time.  there will be more paint, more sweeps of brush across canvas.  the tools of his trade await.

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 4.09.09 PM

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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the soul of barney. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

Barney

as barney ages in our backyard, he clings to his original form – he is a piano, first and foremost.

barney has spent the last four years in our backyard.  his presence is inspiring.  rescued from the dark church basement boiler room he had been in, the light of the sun and weather he now endures have brought nuance to his life as a piano.  no longer serving his original purpose, he has a new destiny.

but barney’s soul remains the same.  you look at him and you know he is a piano.  no ifs, ands or buts. and he is cherished.

there is a different kind of power in his spot in the backyard.  it’s not one of crescendo-ing music.  instead it is now one of steady quiet.  it is one of a history of service and workhorse reliability.  it is one of a history of the dawn of creative moments and the dusk of amens sung in sunday school classrooms or weekly meeting rooms of committees or choirs. his piano-soul now resounds in the chirp of every bird or chipmunk, the sound of the wind and the rain, the glint of the sunlight deepening the wrinkles of his keys.

barney is retired.  but he is not silent.

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

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a flame through the night. [two artists tuesday]

tiki flame

we lit the torches about 5pm.  it was cold but not breezy and the lake was calm after several days of bigger surf.  it was the last night.

we sat on the back porch steps and watched the flame flicker.  we moved inside and watched it dance from the living room, a fire burning in the woodstove.  we checked the wind and the weather forecast and said goodnight to the torches late that night, flames glowing outside with boxes packed around us inside.  very early in the morning i could see the slightest of flame glimmering in the torches, the light of golden rising sun behind them.  all through the night.  they burned all through the night.

there was something profound about that for us – the flame that kept burning through the night.  i’m not sure i can speak to it.  i can just say that the welcome flame of the torches in the morning was calming, steadying, grounding.  indeed, the sun will set, night will descend, the sun will rise.  the flame continues.  light continues.

it was the last night on island, for now.  the first dawn of next.  and, as these things do – every sunrise and sunset – it has forever changed us.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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flame through the night image ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson