reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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play to play. [d.r. thursday]

0006a copy

when i asked d for a summary of this children’s book he wrote and illustrated called PLAY TO PLAY he told me that the gorilla teaches the little girl the value of playing simply to play, not to win.

my son played tennis.  after growing up playing competitive baseball and soccer he decided, as people who are gifted athletically can, to “take up” competitive tennis.  he didn’t just go hit the ball around.  he dove in.  he was persistent and worked hard.  i drove him to lessons, individual and group, to high school team practices, to tournaments.  when he was in college i drove to his matches, regardless of where they were.

not familiar with the psychology of tennis, i, too, dove in, in my own way.  i read articles and books, asked questions of his various coaches.  an individual sport, tennis is a mind game and i needed to understand a little bit of what was going on inside my zealous son out on that lonely court.  indeed, sometimes it was hard to watch, hardly breathing in the stands.  when wendy wrote to me the other day that she just wanted her son’s hardworking football team to win and that she was unduly stressed, i could totally relate.  it’s your heart out on that court, out on that field, out on that diamond.   so much pressure.

a couple years ago we had the opportunity to once again see the boy play softball.  on a league in boston, that team, and another he played on, traveled all over the place to play, including paris.  they were all adults, all working hard and playing hard.  the thing i loved most about watching him now was watching him laugh.  laugh.  teasing and laughter were a part of this ball-playing.  they were playing to play.  winning was a bonus – and they actually did that often – but playing seemed to be the point.  it did my heart good.

we often forget the point of play.  we often forget TO play.  in days of great stress, days of worry and sorrow, play seems so far away.  it seems unlikely and unworthy of our time.  but i suppose it would do us all well to remember how invaluable to our well-being playing is.  how giggling or fun and games, teasing and laughter make us feel.  and how they do our heart good.

the illustrations in this little book are dear and the lesson important:  just play to play.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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PLAY TO PLAY ©️ 2006-2019 david robinson


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we are. under construction. [d.r. thursday]

ddot studio

at this very moment, at this very time, with stacks and stacks of paintings and music, we both succumb to the realization that we are – indeed – under construction.  the rests between the notes are there for a reason.  space to breathe, to comprehend, to make the color and the music a part of your fiber.

the rests change you.  they change how you see, how you hear.  they give you pause.  to re-appreciate what you have done and to wonder what will come.  to be aware of the light.

it is the skill of an artist to learn how to sit in the rests without fidgeting.  to just sit.  it is an even higher level skill to create the rest.  and then sit in it.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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in prayer. together. [d.r. thursday]

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powerful emotions swept through me the first time i joined hands with d and prayed.  it was quiet so any talking or wild display would have been inappropriate, but those tears…i was struck by the rush of it.

there is deep strength in the joining of hands or the kneeling down together and a universal ask for wisdom, for healing or an expression of gratitude.  it matters not what your deity is called.  what really seems to matter is that together you face the world, together you figure it out, together you give thanks, together you create love, acceptance, peace.

had the presence-most-powerful-and wise-in-the-universe wanted us only to be solely and inwardly and separately focused, perhaps there would have been just one person – ever – on this good earth.

but there are about 7.7 billion people.  indeed, there must be at least one with whom we can each choose to join hands.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

click here to view this painting IN PRAYER on david’s gallery site

hands website box

THE YOGA SERIES:  IN PRAYER ©️ 2014 david robinson

 


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our good angels. [d.r. thursday]

Watercolor - Jacob and Angel copy

we sat, broken down, during commuter hour, just north of milwaukee, in the fast lane of I-94.  big red had stalled and would not start.

d called to me on the walkie-talkies i always insist we have with us when we are driving separate vehicles.  i was car lengths ahead and had moved from the fast lane back into the right lane in sudden stopped traffic when he said, “k.dot!  i’m broken down!”  i took the next exit, drove back north on the highway, took the exit after i saw him sitting in the fast lane, cars backing up in stopped traffic.  i eventually made my way to be right behind him.  sitting in the fast lane of the interstate with angry commuters approaching and trying to resume their 75mph to no avail is not my idea of a fun time.  the police officer soon got there, and it was a great relief when he pulled behind us with his lights on, effectually calming things down and blocking us from oncoming traffic.

and there we sat, broken down in spirit as well as mechanically.  we looked like the beverly hillbillies and i would have drawn the comparison aloud, but i fear that the police officer was too young to understand the reference.  big red and little baby scion were both full of stuff, for we were moving off-island and back home.  dogdog and babycat were in the scion with me, none too pleased with the sounds of traffic.

while waiting for the tow truck, d, with no success, occasionally tried to start big red.  and i, of course, while relaxing, stationary, in the fast lane of the thruway, texted jen, mistakenly panic-dialed my girl and wendy when i was trying to reach roadside assistance and googled reasons why an F150 would turn over but wouldn’t start after a sudden stop.  i, channeling my sweet poppo, decided it was the fuel filter or something to do with that, not that i could do anything about it.  i just liked trying to figure it out.  and i had nothing but time on my hands.  big red hadn’t had a lot of gas in it on island and we had just filled the tank a couple hours before this happened.  my guess (truly just a guess!) was that when big red stopped suddenly, sediment that had collected in the gas tank temporarily blocked the fuel filter. sounded plausible to me, dogdog and babycat, both of whom had great investment in my figuring it out.

about 45 minutes into the wait for the tow truck, big red decided to give up the game and started.

the very-nice police officer got us off the highway and we all stopped in a parking lot to chat about our fun time together.

we googled back roads home and while we were slowly driving these back roads, d crackled over the walkie-talkie to me, “well, i wish that our good angels would make something good happen.”  i answered, “maybe they just did.”

angels are indeed all around us.  it is possible, of course, that there was a reason not to be on the highway at that particular time.  maybe there was a reason we needed to pause in our trip.  perhaps there was a reason we should drive the back roads home.  surely, there was something.

we pulled into our driveway safely about two hours later.

i don’t purport to understand this watercolor WRESTLING WITH AN ANGEL.  i, instead of wrestling with angels, will express a gratitude for all the ways we remained safe in an event that could have had many difficult turns.

thank you, our good angels.

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©️ 2019 david robinson


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earth interrupted’s brown bags. [d.r. thursday]

EarthInterrupted3 copy

there are moments when everything seems like a big deal.  our own planet earth is up close and personal, every concern a meteor about to threaten our very existence.  the sum of the individual pieces too much to bear.  we wonder, wonder, “what is going on?!”

and then there are moments when perspective reigns.  when we can step back, see the bigger picture and realize that everyone has their brown paper bags full of baggage, of difficulties, of things to sort, to keep, to ruthlessly throw away.  the moments when you stare up at the night sky into the milky way and feel ever-so-small, knowing that you are alive and this very moment will not pass again.

EARTH INTERRUPTED.  pieces of everyone’s brown bags, torn, scattered and intermingled.  no longer baggage-holding.  an earth close-up and glowing.  full of the hope of it all fitting together:  people, issues, problems, loves, wishes, peace.

view/purchase EARTH INTERRUPTED III on david’s gallery site

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sketch to remember. [d.r. thursday]

sketch

we canoed out to hog island.  it is a bird sanctuary and so we could not get out to walk around the giant rock that it actually is.  seagulls and pelicans, terns and geese congregate on this tiny island and they are protected, their habitat is protected.

each morning, each evening i stand at water’s edge and gaze out on the lake toward little hog island.  i watch as the lake changes, sometimes hourly.  i can hear the birds out on that island, the waterfowl, the screeching seagulls, cranes in the distance.  behind me, david is busy with his sketchbook, drawings passing through his hands, fodder for later paintings.  for me, standing there, lyrics pass through my mind.  i breathe slower and without paper i try to remember them, try to remember the melody that flits through, beckoning me to follow it.  i jot it all down once inside, fodder for later songs.

we walk usually every day.  sometimes in the morning, sometimes at night.  we take the same path that leads us about three miles, watching the woods as they change.  there is a place we pass, fenced in and covered with some kind of netting, a low building in the distance.  two months ago, we had no idea what it was all for.  but as time has passed, the pheasants have grown and now we can see them in the enclosed area.  they are protected.  for now.  because we understand that they soon will be released.  as soon as the dnr hunting season starts.  i stand, staring at them through the woods, through the fence and i breathe slower, tears starting.  it is hard for me to have walked this way every day now, knowing they are right there, peeping and crowing, growing, unaware.  not knowing, i imagine the worst – like ‘the hunger games‘ – release them and then chase them down.  it makes me shudder.

a bird sanctuary.  a bird farm.  the juxtaposition is like the lake – fickle and hard to understand.  one minute serene and calm and protected, the next churned up with irregular-rhythm-waves that batter the shore, dangerous and unprotected.

i wish that the pheasants were on hog island instead of around the block.

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SKETCH ©️ 2019 david robinson

 


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sweet surrender.

#8 Held In Grace -Surrender Now  copy.jpg

“sweet, sweet surrender. live, live without care. like a fish in the water. like a bird in the air.” (john denver)

it’s the second time this week i have quoted john denver.  surrender.  sweet surrender.

this painting in david’s HELD IN GRACE series is called SURRENDER NOW.

giving it over, surrendering, relenting, succumbing, relinquishing.  all synonyms with slightly different connotations, slightly different surrenders.  within yesterday’s grey-ness and vulnerability, surrendering seems most obvious, most necessary.  the letting-go-of-control-and-trusting is difficult.  the barricades between you and surrendering a fortress of spider-webbed resistance.  we tend to fight surrendering.  we tend to forget that we will be held within that yielding.

columbus turns 86 today.  somehow, in his ever-joyous soul, he is surrendering to a changing journey.  somehow, he is gracefully surrendering to the anguishes of dementia that slowly, but surely, take over.  he laughs.  he is quiet.  he tells stories.  he has forgotten stories.  he doesn’t remember things.  he remembers things.  he knows how to do tasks he has done for years.  he has no recollection of how to perform tasks nor does he recognize the familiar around him.  he doesn’t remember us.  he remembers us.  we hug him and he surrenders to the tears he feels when we leave.  he is held.  by his wife jeanne, by his children and his family, by his friends, by those who love him.  he is held.  his surrender, whether intentional and thought-out or simply reactional grace, is like a fish in the water, like a bird in the air.

“There’s nothin’ behind me and nothin’ that ties me to
Something that might have been true yesterday
Tomorrow is open and right now it seems to be more than enough
To just be here today, and I don’t know

What the future is holdin’ in store
I don’t know where I’m goin’ I’m not sure where I’ve been
There’s a spirit that guides me, a light that shines for me
My life is worth the livin’, I don’t need to see the end…”   

(john denver)

happy birthday sweet columbus. we love you. xoxo

view/purchase SURRENDER NOW on david’s gallery site here

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SURRENDER NOW ©️ 2016 david robinson