reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the hands of community. fading to zero. [d.r. thursday]

HELPING HANDS

the hands around us changed with the zoom reading of a prepared statement.

suddenly, the community we had lovingly helped grow was gone. this group of people -from the very old to the very young- people we had stood with in their celebrations, their funerals, their births, their illnesses, their pinnacle moments, their weddings, their baptisms, their challenges, their laughter and their tears – was no longer my/our community. suddenly, in the zoom reading of one prepared statement, i/we became irrelevant. suddenly, it was as if i/we hadn’t existed, hadn’t invested our hearts in this place, hadn’t worked long hours dedicated to joy and a network of learning and caring, shared goals, the symphony of music of this place, hadn’t had dozens of gatherings with these people at our home, hadn’t stood in the middle of a large dancing circle of these beloveds – with the song “we are family!” playing at our wedding. suddenly. no hands. it’s bracing.

and so we fade to zero.

wine arrived on our doorstep. twice. so did frozen slushie and pumpkin desserts. i got a card or two, an email or two, a few texts, a phone call here or there. some hands reaching out. but i can see the fade.

there is no goodbye party, there are no thanks, there is no real [read: transparent] explanation. i/we just disappeared. erased. the community-family-tree decimated. it all runs roughshod over the very definition of community.

it just is what it is. where have i heard that before?

and so we fade to zero.

the hands in your life. we reach out to each other. we rely upon each other. the interdependency concentrics outward – people we would never recognize, will never meet, are part of the very foundation of our lives, our living. they play a part. they are a star in our shared universe. community.

the 1980s hands across america song lyrics: “see those people over there? they’re my sister and brother. and when they laugh i laugh. and when they cry i cry. and when they need me i’ll be right there by their side.” we would do well re-creating the human chain across the united states holding hands for 15 minutes on a may sunday in 1986. it’s what community is.

the brotherhood of man released the song united we stand in 1970. “for united we stand. divided we fall.
and if our backs should ever be against the wall, we’ll be together, together, you and i.”
community.

hands.

fading to zero.

it is what it is.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

visit this painting HELPING HANDS on DAVID’S virtual gallery

HELPING HANDS ©️ 2014 david robinson


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art is like that. [d.r. thursday]

i don’t understand this painting. nor do i feel connected to it. art is like that. sometimes it resonates, sometimes it does not. and in just the way that it does not vibrate within you, it still stirs something else.

for me, this has stirred up images of one of my beloved nieces. her wedding, now years ago, was a blur of blue sky, warm sand, rich brown gowns, the setting sun and her, in stunning white. her home combined these tones; it echoes the sentiment of that landscape and never will i see blue and brown together without thinking of her. art is like that.

we each carry a palette of color at our hips. we carry tunes of music in our hearts. snippets of image, of music that evoke memories of other times.

right now, in the middle of this raging pandemic perhaps this is most important. we have nary a chance to have new treasured times with our loved ones. we face quiet thanksgivings, quiet holiday seasons. we wonder what it will be like, we wonder how we will get through it.

walking through the neighborhood yesterday, we took note of how many people had already decorated for the holidays. lights and giant hard plastic snowmen, candy canes adorning sidewalks, stars lighting up gardens. there were yards that looked like a cacophony of giggling sound, competing with other yards for attention. while this seems early for all that, it made us smile.

for, in all that wiring and plasticware, was a trove of memories. each homeowner must have yearned for the resonance of that magic. each homeowner must have had stories of years-past echo through their heart and mind. each homeowner created art – their own art – chronicling their life and experience through time, re-telling a story, expressing what they feel and creating a rich offering for others.

grateful for their gift as we wandered home through the darkened streets, i thought about holidays past, traditions on hold, gatherings at bay, much longing. it stirred a deep store of memories, made me hope yet even more for the pandemic healing of the world.

and it made me wonder if this is the year to consider having a “regular” christmas tree, bright with lights. if this is the year to respectfully light a menorah, tend a kinara, break open a star pinata…

i wonder if this is the year to celebrate the story of life with the whole world, full of color and sound, vibrating loudly and ever so quietly. art is like that.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

visit DAVID’s online gallery

visit the completed painting


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collective exhaustion. [d.r. thursday]

utterly exhausted.

we literally get to 4:30 in the afternoon, when the light of standard time is waning and the day is catching up, and we are both utterly exhausted.

we sat on the boulder overlooking the river and bowed our heads down, brows furrowed, squeezing our eyes closed as we listed the reasons why we might be tired. we decided it is collective exhaustion. we simply do not know anyone who is not beyond tired right now.

the last week offered many chances to be outside: warm sun, soft breezes, a rare november last-licks-of-second-summer. every walk helped. every minute in the adirondack chairs helped. every task checked off the never-ending chore list helped. but there was still this weariness, pervasive, inevitable.

in the middle of a raging pandemic, with the stress of keeping oneself and others healthy, with the worry of financial strain, with the chaos of the election, with the political climate and matters of social justice, with work challenges, with isolation away from loved ones and friends, with grief over our individual physical issues – where is the restoration, the rejuvenation?

and so, we tuck in. we lay our head in the crook of our arms and we sigh. we know we are not alone. everywhere, necks are bent low in sheer collapse.

collectively, we all slow down our rapidly-beating hearts and our nervous pulses. collectively, we consciously take a deeper breath. collectively, we will rise back up, unfolding our bodies from fatigue. collectively, we will carry on.

but for right now we are utterly exhausted.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

visit DAVID’S virtual gallery

COLLECTIVE EXHAUSTION © david robinson


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it is my hope. [d.r. thursday]

my beloved children,

in the last few years i have become increasingly vocal, doggedly writing about the politics of this nation. i have watched an administration sweep in wearing hatred and division on its sleeve, attempts to undermine and destroy any forward movement this country has made or has desired to make on so many fronts. i have decried their rhetoric, narrative of severing, narrative of bigotry, narrative of self-serving agenda. i have pushed back against the frailty of humankind and against the furthering of prejudice and discrimination of any sort, be it under the heading of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, economic status, religion. i have, time and again, asked to uphold what would make the populace safer in a raging pandemic. i have asked for leadership to be responsible, to be truthful, to be one with integrity, to prize virtue. i have raised up climate change and this good earth time and again. i have cited examples of inequality. i have been open and honest about my feelings and opinions, vulnerable to assault by those who do not agree. i have learned that’s ok.

in the last few years i have become increasingly vocal, doggedly writing about the evanescence of time, the impermanence of this very life, the beauty that rises with the sun. i have pointed to moments of joy, moments of devastating grief, moments of sheer bliss, moments to memorize. i have spoken of and to the ocean and of and to the top of mountains. i have drawn pictures in the sand and let the cool waters of high elevation streams run through my hands. i have described treasured moments with you, my children, with family, with friends, with my husband. i have been aware of how fleeting time is as it races on. i have learned that life is simply that – learning.

in this time it is my hope that this country will gather its resources into its national quiver and will lead forward with arrows of love and compassion. it is my hope that this country, like committed and passionately dedicated parents holding newborn life, will embrace each and every one of its citizens, holding and blanketing them with reassurance, with protection, with a promise of doing better. it is my hope that this country will offer to you – its children and its children’s children and its children’s children’s children – new times of peace, new times of equity, new times of profound and wise knowledge, new times of opportunity, new times of kindness, and that this will surely sweep across the land from the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters, from sea to shining sea.

it is my hope that you both, my amazing and brilliant daughter and my amazing and brilliant son, deep in your adventurous souls, will feel the freedom promised you in the universe. it is my hope that you speak your truth, that you speak for, that you speak against, that you speak up, that you speak out. it is my hope that you feel affirmed in your lives, strong and powerful, fiercely dedicated to every breath, tenacious, and both gently kind and profoundly vehement in the demand for justice and liberty. it is my hope that you feel unconditionally loved and cherished: by me, by partners, by family and friends, by this nation, by this very good earth. it is my hope that in the moments you take a deep breath and exhale you know that your presence in this universe is light itself and is truly making a difference…forever.

i love you,

mom.

***

view this painting SHARED FATHERHOOD on david’s virtual gallery

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

SHARED FATHERHOOD © 2017 david robinson


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over and over and over. [d.r. thursday]

although there are other tells and definitely some misses, there is one sure tell for me that someone is in the “other” camp: not. wearing. a. mask.

it is probably the most wearying part of navigating this pandemic. we have been told – clearly, undeniably, effusively – that wearing a mask will help to mitigate the spread of covid-19. over and over and over.

and over and over and over the current administration poo-poos the wearing of masks, equates it with weakness, warps it into a political statement, derailing all the good work of health care workers, researchers, scientists, medical experts. the current administration blatantly, pointedly, willfully, defiantly does not model wearing a mask as compassionate and absolute. instead, in some kind of lack-of-proper-leadership display, this self-serving-devotee models disdain and piggishness. social distancing at this white house, and the events in or out of the reigning house and around the country, is ignored. it is gut-level exhausting.

200 other countries have somehow figured out how to wear masks without whining, without carrying on about their right to breathe without a piece of cloth over their nose and mouth, without harassing people for their attempt to stop the further spread of this raging disease, without killing-dead people with requests to don a mask. i just want to scream, “grow the hell up!”

we are on a path, marching like lemmings toward more sickness, more death, more sadness and devastation for the people of this country. lives can be saved by wearing a mask, by social distancing and by washing your hands.

even i am tired of hearing myself say this over and over and over.

watch this YouTube called “wear a mask” by noah lindquist

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

SPACE INVADER copyright 2016 david robinson


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mother-daughter. [d.r. thursday]

another haiku day:

now she is up close,

and yet such independence.

two – always entwined.

her heart expands out;

my heart takes her all in, love

unconditional.

she will soar freely

as an eagle untethered

and rooted in love.

her wings will catch air,

her soul will find much wisdom:

grounded and high flight.

my daughter: sublime.

always loved. motherhood is:

never easy. best.

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

view this painting MOTHER-DAUGHTER on david’s gallery site

MOTHER-DAUGHTER ©️ 2019 david robinson


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forward.back. [d.r. thursday]

forward back, mixed media, 18″ x 36″

a haiku for today:

forward back. it seems

to never stop ping-ponging.

we’re all now reeling.

read DAVID’s haiku post today

visit DAVID’S painting FORWARD BACK here

FORWARD BACK ©️ 2012 david robinson


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spud. and ptsd. [d.r. thursday]

we played spud as kids. the abby drive kids ran through yards trying to escape the inevitable impact of the ball.

i was “it” a lot. i lived next door to a family with eight children, all of whom were athletic whizzes. when one of these athletes was “it” they’d throw the ball up, call out a number and we’d scatter, in my memory, in the grass close by. the catcher of the ball – the new “it” – would easily lob the ball over to someone frozen on the lawn and that kid would be the new “it”. easy-peasy.

but – there was a tad bit of hypocrisy here. when i was called “it”, they would scatter rapidly, their feet sailing across grassy yards, barely touching as i ran for the ball to yell “spud”. and then they froze what-seemed-like miles away, hiding behind any objet d’art disguised as a towering oak or big forsythia. my measly throw, complicated by those trees and bushes, would ensure my continuation as “it”, sometimes ad nauseam. this did not make playing spud fun.

in a few ptsd moments, i just read the rules of spud online – and it appears that you are not allowed to hide behind things. you are to run out in the open so as to move the game along and pass “it” status around. ahh. somehow, i’m sure i guessed that back in 1968 when i was in the middle of catching the ball yet again and calling out “spud” yet again and throwing at the targeted kid once again. but the rules were not quite objective and, when you have a family of eight vs one or two others, you are definitely at a deficit. things are not stacked in your favor. this is probably why i loved hopscotch so much.

bullies are everywhere. we encounter them in our daily lives: at work, at school, out in public, in the political arena. they change the rules willy-nilly to suit their agenda; they justify changing them with empty words of hypocrisy.

and now, people are running spud-ptsd-scared away, hiding behind each other, their integrity underground, “it” – the truth – unable to touch them behind their objets d’art: the smug all-powerful-makes-his-own-rules-to-suit-himself senate majority leader and the sinister autocratic-wishing-wishing-wishing president of this united states. the ball, so to speak, is in their hands and they are hiding, clutching their (non) great america and its questionable future, in plain view.

it makes me want to play hopscotch.

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

©️ 2020 david robinson


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reach to the sky. [d.r. thursday]

“the collective sense of closure we’re all longing for may never arrive. instead, brace for a slow fade into a new normal. … there will be no clear moment when we can all move on.” joe pinsker’s opinion in the atlantic “there won’t be a clear end to the pandemic” is bracing. people will come to individual ‘ends’ as the fear and risk-taking factor start to feather out. there will be no treaty or declaration of peace; instead we will start to move back into life with a little less trepidation, a little more sure-footed.

libby wrote in her post that as she looked at the photograph of people gathered together she wondered where their masks were, she wondered why she was speaking so closely, horrified she was emitting aerosols into the air so close to them. it was a photograph of 2018. but you could choose a photograph of 2019 or even early 2020 and think the same. we watched a dvd movie and it was jarring to see masses of people together, unmasked. the unthinkable has become normalized. the pandemic is here and it is now and we have no idea when or how it will end or what it will look like.

the wildfires rage in the west, the hurricanes come and flooding devastates the south. the adrenaline of social unrest is racing. the pandemic is still in bloom, whether or not people are acknowledging it. jobs and homes and healthcare and bills and security are compromised. the political climate is in chaos and full of arrogant missteps and loud untruths. we are left to sort through the apocalyptic ruins.

we look to the sky, reaching out our arms, asking the universe for a tiny break in the storms.

we pick up our masks, go outside and take a long walk under the setting sun.

visit the full painting CHASING BUBBLES in david’s virtual gallery

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

REACH – a mo️rsel of CHASING BUBBLES © 2019 david robinson


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back the **** up! [d.r . thursday]

i have hugged exactly two people since the pandemic started.

two people. one is my husband, who i’ve been hugging daily. and, this past wednesday, finally, at long last, after seven months of not seeing him, and with great forethought, i hugged my son. that’s it. no best friends. no dear friends. no sweet neighbors. no co-workers. no one else. just two. matter of fact, i had an extended conversation a while back with my daughter and, in the middle of a discussion about possibly having a long-long-long overdue visit out in the high mountains and the absolute need to hug, even mask-on-face-turned, her admonishment to stave me away from the rampant numbers there at that time, “how will you not hug me, mom?”

so walking in front of the neighborhood store, about to put my mask on, imagine my astonishment when someone i haven’t seen in almost a decade called out my name, ran up and hugged me. HUGGED me.

this was an adult! an adult exhaling cigarette smoke. an adult exhaling cigarette smoke with no mask on. an adult exhaling cigarette smoke with no mask on and no acknowledgement that i was in the process of putting my mask on but hadn’t completed the motion. an adult exhaling cigarette smoke with no mask on and no acknowledgement of my incomplete-mask-putting-on-action who completely ignored my stepping-back-hand-out-clear-non-verbal-please-back-the-****-up behavior.

daaaaaaamn. i was shocked. it’s a freaking pandemic. my hug-quota is sorely lacking and yet, it is i who should choose who i would like to sacrifice my safety for in order to hug. did i mention? it’s a pandemic!

when i regained my composure on the sidewalk a few blocks away, i reviewed my actions. david, who was clear i did not want to hug this person, said i sent all the right signals. i reviewed it all again. i mean, i am a huggy person and this person would likely remember me as such. this wasn’t a cold reaction to the person; it was a reaction to the social distancing guidelines that we have been encouraged to follow in order to not spread or contract covid-19. i mean, it’s a pandemic!

what would YOU do?

i suppose next time – if this happens again – i could, as fast as my mouth could manage, say, “it-would-be-nice-to-be-able-to-hug-you-but-right-now-in-the-pandemic-i-am-not-hugging-people-sorry-don’t-take-it-personally.” only this wouldn’t have worked. she came at me in a warped speed tunnel…she went directly from the curb to hugging in seconds flat without stopping, without exhaling the cigarette smoke, without donning a mask, without passing go, without collecting $200, without stopping to think, “oh yeah, it’s a pandemic! i shouldn’t be hugging her.”

or, since that likely wouldn’t work in the warp-speed version, i could say in a loud assertive outdoor voice, “back up!” or i could use 20’s spicier version of that (only i won’t print that here.)

either way, it’s alarming to be put in a position like that.

david’s momma told us about a woman who spontaneously hugged her when jeanne gave the woman tomatoes. it horrified my mother-in-law, who then went home and showered and washed all her clothes. at the time i wondered how that could ever happen. well. silly me. s**t happens.

this is such an odd time. it’s scary all the way around. we have been inordinately careful, like many of our dearest friends. we are making choices based on what are the safest behaviors. the fact that someone can just arbitrarily take away your choice – during a pandemic (don’t know if i mentioned that yet) – is bracing.

i will have to have a plan of action for the next time. practice it. evaluate it. practice it again. make it a reflex. and make it flipping obvious.

in the meanwhile, i want my hug back. i need it for people i have actually been dying to hug.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

view DAVID’s online gallery

BACK UP! from PIETA ©️ 2010 david robinson