reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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damning ice-damming. [two artists tuesday]

there is a price to pay for having an adored old house. ours is 93 years old. sturdy, charming, with wood floors and crown molding, built-in cabinets and solid doors, details that wouldn’t necessarily be affordable in new construction. but then there’s that thing that many of these sweet old houses don’t have enough of — called insulation.

many’s the time i have been on a ladder in the winter with a hose that is stretched to the basement laundry tub spigot. just me and hot water tending to the ice in the gutters. one year, when it was a particularly big problem, big jim came over and performed magic. i remember driving to illinois to purchase the proper tools: heating cables (they were out in wisconsin stores) and one of those really long telescoping snow rakes. and now d has had the distinct pleasure of dealing with this as well. each fall now we check the gutter cables – i’m always holding my breath to make sure they are still working lest the winter comes and they cease being warm in the middle of ice-damming weather.

and ice-damming weather it is.

it’s not like i’m happy that other people are dealing with it, although there is a little bit of content that we aren’t alone in this. as we walk around the neighborhood or drive around town we point at houses and icicles, inches of solid ice clearly stoked up in the gutter, snow falling off roofs like icing sliding from a cupcake on a hot summer’s day. even newer houses and brand-new construction have ice-laden soffits and fascia. and i listen and just keep hoping i don’t hear the telltale drip-drip-drip sound somewhere inside the house; that is never a good thing.

my first experience was memorable. i was alone when i walked in the front door and could hear water literally pouring somewhere. thinking someone had left a faucet on, i immediately went to check the bathrooms, but the sound lured me directly to the sunroom where i stared at the scene that ice-damming had created. my dad and a friend, neither in town, provided some pretty healthy support over the phone for my first adventure on the perilous ladder perched on the icy deck with an unwieldy and uncooperative long garden hose that i had to first thaw from its frozen coiled state as i tried to win against mother nature and too little insulation. eventually, i did win, but not until i was solidly drenched in 20-degree temperatures and i had earned the nickname ‘hoser’ over my moral-support-suggestion-laden-phone-calls and their quest to keep me laughing.

another time, my son can attest to walking into the sitting room one day to find water coming in from above the windows. we both stared at the phenomenon (staring is a requirement as a first reaction in ice-damming). then we got to work with every spare towel we could find. so, yeah, it’s not like i’m happy other people are dealing with it (isn’t that something like schadenfreude?) but i am happy for company in misery. and i know that in the summer, when we are calmly sitting outside in adirondack chairs in the warm sun having an iced tea, these will be funny stories.

but now? this year? yes, i am still holding my breath. the ice is particularly stubborn and the temperatures are lingering in ice-damming territory. facebook posts are abounding with pictures of dammed ice (or “damned” ice, depending on your level of zen) and people’s comments are empathetic and knowing. i don’t remember this from long island at all. i blame wisconsin. nevertheless, in the words of my momma, “this too shall pass.”

i seem to be thinking about those words a lot these days.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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happy-lights. [two artists tuesday]

over eight months of happy-light

happy-lights. we surround ourselves with these. on the deck, on the headboard, strung on ficus trees, draping the shelf in the kitchen. there are still happy-lights at the littlehouse on island, touches that made it feel like home, tiny torches of happy.

it is astounding to us that through the dead of winter, their glimmer shining through the snows of the season, a rainy spring and a hot, hot summer these little minilights, plugged in and on 24/7, lasted over eight months on our front rail since we put them up in early december for the holiday season.

in true beaky-behavior, i am going to write this happy-light company a letter. because what person, what company, doesn’t need to hear something positive during a time of so much uncertainty.

$2.99 is marked on the box. because i know me, i know that we wouldn’t have purchased them until they were on 50% off sale. even at full price, i have to say, the twinkle of these lights outside as we pulled up in the dark, the twinkle of these lights in our dark sunroom or over the littlehouse sink, is a we-are-home reminder. it gently says to us that we are in a safe place, a place of love, a place we care about, a place of light.

perhaps this country needs to string up some happy lights. 2800 miles across the united states is 14,728,000 feet. our happy lights are 20′ of lighted joy, which means 736,400 strands of this very set. that would end up costing a tad bit over $2.2 million. but….on a 50% off sale we’re only talking $1.1 million. and wouldn’t that be an inexpensive (federal-government-spending-wise) message to all: you are home. you are safe. you are cared for. you are in a place of light. you are loved.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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just know. [two artists tuesday]

loves me loves me not

we passed the daisy on the trail and i went back to take a picture.  it was instant recognition of  “loves me, loves me not” as i saw it.  the questions we threw willy-nilly to the universe, the don’t-step-on-a-crack, knock-wood, bread-and-butter reflexes of our 60s-70s childhoods.

were it all still to be so easy.

i remember sitting in the grass making clover chains.  i remember the transistor radio playing on the bazooka bubble gum beach towel.  i remember playing in the woods out back with the neighbors.  i remember kickball in the street and badminton and croquet in the yard.  i remember hula-hoops and skateboards on my driveway.  i remember the “boing” the pogo stick made.  i remember koolaid and ice pops that seemed to never run out.  i remember bike hikes with sue and carvel ice cream cones with chocolate sprinkles.  i remember frisbee at the beach and making apple pies.  i remember listening to cassettes and practicing piano.  i remember the trunk of the maple tree against my back, the branches holding me as i wrote.  i remember the sound the pressure-filled-from-the-sun-light-purple-hosta-flowers along our sidewalk made when popped.  i remember it was time to go home when it got dark and i remember catching fireflies in jars with holes punched in the lids.  i remember sunday drives and picking apples and kentucky fried chicken on picnic tables further out on the island.  i remember cabins in state parks and wide-eyed flirting with older lake lifeguards upstate.  i remember duck ponds and friendly’s.  i remember my puppy riding in my bike basket and ponytails.  i remember loves-me-loves-me-not.

it seemed an innocent time.  a time of marvel.  a time of safety.  never did i wonder if my parents loved me.  i just knew.

babycat just rolled onto his back, all four paws outstretched, his big black and white belly just begging for a pet.  he doesn’t ask questions.  his world is relatively small – since his kittenhood adoption, the littlehouse was the only other house he has known other than our house.  yesterday we brought him and dogdog into the basement as the tornado siren went off.  dogga was nervous but babycat adapted, finding a place to lay on the carpet.  his only demand is for food, several times a day with clockwork precision.  otherwise, he is unconditional.  his presence in my life has brought me eleven years of a gift i really needed when he arrived.

babycat is laying right next to me now as i type.  tucked close in, his snoring is punctuated only by his purring – it’s a two measure repeat in 4/4, each breath a half note.  it is the 11th anniversary of his “gotcha day” and he’s marking the day with a celebration of naps. no worry of “loves me, loves me not” crosses his mind.  he just knows.

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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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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a house remembers. [two artists tuesday]

a house

there is a screen door that i am lusting over.  it sits outside an antique shoppe, subject to the rain and snow, sun and wind.  one of these days we will take big red over there and purchase it; the test is that i am still thinking about it.  we have no idea where we will put it.  but there is something about it; it has a story and that story will always be a mystery to us.  giving that door a home again will add to its journey, its history.

last night i had a dream.  it was, as dreams are, fraught with inconsistencies and unlikelinesses, but i remember one thing about it in particular.  in my dream, david handed me a check he had received from someone.  someone, presumably the person who wrote the check, had scratched out the address and, all along the top of the check, had written in a different address:  my growing-up-on-long-island address.  i was delightedly startled and pressed david to tell me about the person who clearly now lived in this cherished house, but, in the way that dreams make both little sense and all the sense in the world, he was unable to give me any more information.  what i know is that it left me with a reassurance of the feeling from that house.  it was a reminder of a time gone by, a time woven deeply into who i am and, for that house, the fabric of about two decades of our family.

houses remember.  and you can feel it.  the moment i walked into our house i knew.  this was the place i wanted to live; this was the place i wanted to have the next part of my life.  this house had all good things to offer; i wanted to sustain its story.   i suspect it would have been easier to have purchased a brand new home way back then, something pristine and customized to our needs.  something that had a sparkling new kitchen or an attached garage, central air conditioning or an open floor plan.

but this house said, “wait.  don’t go.  give me a chance.  i can offer you a lifetime of sturdy foundation.  i can tell you i have been there in the light and in the dark times.  i can be a safe place for you.  i can hold you and celebrate you and listen to the laughter of your children.  you can walk on my old wood floors and keep food in my old pantry.  you can have dogs and cats and they can run circles through my rooms and children can push or ride plastic wheeled toys round and round hall-kitchen-dining room-living room.  you can use my rooms as you need.  a nursery with a singing-to-sleep-rocking-chair can later be a studio with a big piano; i can rejoice in listening.  you can sit in my south-facing living room and delight in the sun streaming in the windows.  i know it will need a little tuck-pointing down the road, but you can burn all the torn-off-the-packages-christmas-wrappings in the old fireplace. you can paint and redecorate and remodel as you wish for it won’t change how i feel.  i can be your house.  and i, even someday when you have moved on to somewhere else, will always remember you.”

we really need to go get that old screen door and add it to the story of our house.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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what is home? [k.s. friday]

the way home songbox 2.jpg

on this very day, at this very time, i do not feel at home.  and i believe i take home with me, so this is truly a statement of much discontent.

what is home to you?

how important is it to you to be surrounded by people who, with consciousness of others, support you?  how important is it to you to be amongst those who are kind, who are magnanimous, who are respectful to all, who are collaborative?  how important is to you to be around people who lead with goodness, who work together, who do not embrace divisiveness?

how important is the place?  does an idyllic location exempt bitter disputes and argumentative people?  does it matter if the sun rises and sets in dramatic color if the timbre of the place is ugly, combative, rift-producing, breach-exacerbating?  what flowers override belligerence, competition and antagonistic voices?  what soaring birds and graceful wildlife eclipse closed minds and turning a blind eye to others’ pain?

important questions, i believe.  eye-opening questions.

home is indeed subjective for each of us.  our hearts lead us.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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THE WAY HOME from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1997, 2000 kerri sherwood


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island prayer flags. [two artists tuesday]

prayer flags 1.jpg

 

on march 19 of this year i wrote about our prayer flags.  the ones at our home, i cherish their presence as they flutter in our backyard breezes.  the prayer flags in this post are at our littlehouse on island.  they stretch between a tree and a covered wooden rocking loveseat that plants itself firmly gazing at the lake.  my sweet girl got me these as a gift, from the same little shop in ridgway, colorado that our home-prayer-flags come from.

the lake breeze is stronger than the breezes in our backyard; sometimes the flags are horizontal in its fury.  the threads are loosening, loosening; the prayers are flying, flying.  these little prayer flags are already more quickly tattered than the ones we have at our home.  prayers for peace, compassion, strength and wisdom are perhaps more zealous these days, perhaps more often, perhaps more imploring.

at the end of this season we will gently take our prayer flags down and wrap them in soft cloth or tissue.  we will thank them and put them in our special box to bring home with us.  perhaps they will then hang with the flags-in-the-backyard.  or perhaps, after a time of flying and more reassurance than i can explain, they will rest.  we will see.

“we pass under them every time we leave the house and every time we return.  our prayer flags fly between the house and the garage…a welcome sight either way.  although better given to you as a gift, we purchased our flags in a little shop in ridgway, colorado and i consider it a gift that we were able to spend time in that tiny mountain town in the san juan mountains.  these flags represent that place to us, that time, and so much more.

each color is symbolic of an element…white is air and wind, blue is sky and space, green symbolizes water, red is fire and yellow is earth.  flying these in a specific order produces a balance of health and harmony.  flying these promotes peace, compassion, strength and wisdom; the wind blows the prayers into the universe.  i cannot think of  more visual evidence of constant prayer.  it matters not to me what religious practice is associated with them.  the prayers are so much bigger than that.  everything is bigger than that.

every time we watch any depiction of an everest story, there are multitudes of these buddhist prayer flags.  they grace base camp and the summit and each camp between,  the prayers issued by those people seeking to reach the highest place on earth.

we can’t claim trying to reach the highest physical place on earth.  but we can claim seeking peace, compassion, strength and wisdom, a balance of health and harmony.  for me, for us, those things are the highest place on earth.” (march 19, 2019)

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click here to browse or purchase ISLAND PRAYER FLAGS as wall art

island prayer flags - the five elements

click here to browse or purchase ISLAND PRAYER FLAGS – THE FIVE ELEMENTS as wall art

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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island prayer flags photograph ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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it’s in the stars. [merely-a-thought monday]

it's in the stars copy

mike described the night sky and ended with, “…and sometimes you can see the northern lights.”  the blanket of stars in a deep inky sky are vivid with no city lights.  magical and unending, the light from the moon and stars light the tiny island.  a smattering of front lights or the warm glow through windows belies the notion that there is no one present on island.  instead, it just shows the majesty of the infinity-sky and its luminous spheres, seemingly suspended for our delight.

you can feel it when things start to align.  despite one’s tendency to question or even ignore the telltale signs or the pull of gravity, sometimes things are, indeed, in the stars, as the saying goes.

and so, this tiny island with this vast sky will also be our home.  and i imagine that we will sit on the beach or in the purple adirondack chairs.  we will look to the sky and marvel at the stars, both at their incandescent beauty and how they somehow line up.  and we will be starstruck.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

moon website box copy

 


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babycat in a box. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

babycat in a box copy

remember when you carefully wrapped your toddler’s presents, expecting their absolute glee when he or she opened the gift?  and then, moments after the gift was opened, with wrappings and gift cast aside, you found them ecstatically playing with the box the gift came in?  well, welcome to babycatworld.

b-cat has lots of toys.  we struggle with keeping dogdog from devouring them.  we gave him fun new things for christmas, but he doesn’t seem all that interested.  however, the moment we put a carry-your-stuff-out-box we used at costco on the floor in the kitchen, babycat decided it was his.  no matter where we move it, he sits in it.  he has claimed it; it is his safe spot.  it would be impossible for him to lay down in it; his hulking “big-boned” body dwarfs the box.  but sitting in it seems to suffice for him.  i guess everyone/every creature has their special spot.  so for now, this crest box has become a part of our home.

i might add that it doesn’t match our decor in any way.   i’m wondering if he would still sit in it if we spray-painted it black…

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

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this painting!! [d.r. thursday]

Horses Morsel copy

this painting!!  i fell in love with it the instant i saw the horses.  utter-arms-outstretched-bliss on horseback.  what is not to love?  i have been horse-crazy ever since i was little.  my room decorations at one point in my life included stable-brown walls, burlap curtains, horse statues and ribbons on shelves and wall space and my headboard.

i took horseback-riding lessons as a little girl; i relished every minute of it.  it was expensive (horses in general are expensive, whether you own or rent or just go on a trail ride) and the opportunity ran out for these lessons, but when i can, i ride.   a couple years ago My Girl and i went on a trail ride out in the mountains of aspen.  it was sheer heaven! k and me riding

this painting!! it makes me think of other recent times looking-into-the-gentle-eyes of these beautiful animals.  we walked later at night in holland past fields and obvious horse-fencing.  i heard the sound of a horse nickering, that blowing-out of air so easily identifiable.  i walked in the dark toward the sound.  there at the fenceline was this beautiful horse, just waiting for us to quietly talk to him, stroke his face.  no treats, just love.

this painting!! linda and bill can relate to horse-love.  their horse chance is the sweetest.  she literally finds her way to the side kitchen door in the morning if they haven’t gone out to feed her yet and will stick her head right inside the car as you drive slowly by.

chance

this painting!! it transports me to warm springs ranch, a budweiser clydesdale eden with sweet foals and gentle giant mares.  a glorious afternoon with wendy and jani, david followed me around with a camera, documenting my glee.

warm springs ranch

this painting!!  it brings back all my having-a-horse-one-day yearning.  ahhh.  someday, i think.  i have many brochures about the wild mustangs of out west, all needing homes and an adoptive chance at life, not to be swept up in roundups due to an imbalance of excess and lack.

the mane

this painting!! how will i be able to let it go – because someone will want this stunning painting for their home…

Horses FullSize copy

well, i have an idea:

FullSizeRender

 

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

 

warm springs ranch statue website

©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood