reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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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

 

 


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slow down. [two artists tuesday]

curvy road

you have to slow down.  as you drive in door county toward the ferry dock on the southern side of death’s door, the road begins to curve.  it is imperative to slow down.  after you arrive at the dock, as you wait for the ferry, IF you have a signal, you google the route, wondering.  you find:

“Jens Jensen was a vehement believer in the power of nature to enrich the lives of men and women. His parks are famous for their water features, rock gardens, and meandering paths meant to mimic and incorporate nature rather than shape it.”

it is said that this scandinavian man (a landscape architect) designed this road to do just that:  enrich people’s lives by nature.  slow them down.  i give a lot of credit to a person who chose to do what was likely an unpopular decision in a society that wants to get as-quickly-as-possible from point a to point b.  slowing people down takes some guts.  (have you ever driven the speed limit in the fast lane?)

i tend to go slower than d.  we are both project-driven and completion-oriented.  but once he is on a mission, he is relatively unstoppable.  he likens it to being OCD (i’m not sure i’d entirely agree) but his focus is intense and he, like many, is not as tangential or multi-tasking-ish as i am.  he doesn’t circle around or circle back like i do.  it makes me wonder if circling is perceived as intense as straight-line-aheading, but i digress.

each time we have driven the road to the ferry that takes us to our little island i have thought about stopping and taking a picture of it.  many people are parked on the side of the road, pausing to do just that, trying to wait until all the cars are gone and there aren’t other people standing in the middle of the road photographing the ideal photograph.  i have joked about how they should maybe buy a postcard, but then, it’s not their personal moment and i really understand that.

the other day, because this route has grown on me and because it is really beautiful, i thought again about stopping to take a picture, to remember…all the times we have driven this way.  i drove past the curvy part and then, because there was this nagging debate in my brain, said, “would you mind if we went back so i could get a picture?”  of course, d’s answer was, “no, turn around!  we’re in no hurry!”  so i did.  i circled back.  i stood in the road and waited until there were no other cars or other people standing in the middle of the lane.  i could smell the colors of the fall leaves, could feel the briskness of air and the smile of the sun, knew the ferry to the island was at the other end of the curves.

the idea of decelerating people to appreciate nature and moments in it speaks to me.  the idea of incorporating nature rather than shaping it speaks to me.  believing in the power of nature speaks to me. i vote with jens – slow down.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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kind of awesome. [merely-a-thought monday]

your day

when packages arrive here, you get either a phone call or a text from the ferry dock.  you are told that a package will be arriving and that you can pick it up after 4:45 at the ferry dock office.  it’s pretty exciting, especially when you don’t know what it is.  you arrive, curious.  if you are in the back room of the dock office, you are likely surrounded by amazon prime boxes, because amazon prime is definitely a thing here on island.  with a $53 round trip ferry price tag for the two of us to go shopping off-island, paying zero for delivery on items you can’t buy here anyway makes total sense.

last week we got a call.  it was the thursday of a for-various-reasons-really-rotten couple of weeks.  david had been having high fevers for over a week and we had to go off-island to a clinic for some bloodwork, which eventually revealed that he picked up lyme disease in the previous weeks here.  exhausted and shocked, we attempted to stay patient and treat his painful, confusing and somewhat scary symptoms while we waited for those results.  jen and brad knew we were waiting and they knew we were having some heftily trying days.

we left for the ferry dock at 4:30, our pace slow, watching for the sweet leggy deer that wander into the road.  david went in to get the package.  he came out with a big box, from wine.com, with the words: “fact:  your day just got kind of awesome.”  six bottles of our favorite friday-night-potluck wine were inside with a note of love.  you can bet that as early that evening as was acceptable, we opened one of those and toasted our dear dear friends and our gratitude for them.  kind of awesome.

we have wonderful friends at home.  we consider ourselves very fortunate.  20 was just up here for a couple days, replenishing groceries for us, sitting and talking and having the kind of conversation only people who have known each other for years have.  it was kind of awesome.  the up-north-gang is coming this week and we can’t wait.  they will bring snacks and laughter, hugs and listening ears, perspective and big heart. they asked for a list ahead of time, of things we might need that we don’t have access to.  our days with them will be kind of awesome.  back at home, our friends help take care of our home, assisting us from afar.  michele and john mow our lawn, loan their bike to my girl, ask how they can help.  linda and jim make us food and pour generous glasses of wine at the drop of a hat.  dan brings a new dehumidifier.  kind of awesome.  there are too many people to list.  there are too many people to thank. which is, in and of itself, kind of awesome.

today, with a deeply sombered heart, i am aware of a young woman who is losing her grasp on life.  with the thinnest of thread she clings, struggling against a plethora of sudden medical emergencies.  i don’t know the whole story.  i just know that this young woman, with a huge life force, may be moving on to a different plane of existence.  and it very well might be today.  today.  i think about that.  today.  toDAY.

every day we have the opportunity to help make someone’s day kind of awesome.  we can choose that or we can choose to perpetuate something different.  we can gift someone with kind words, kind deeds, or we can be, well, rotten.  we can ignore people’s hearts or we can tend to them.

it’s a choice every day.  fact.

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

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gaze south. [two artists tuesday]

dogdog pondering copy.jpg

dogdog sits at the edge of the lake and gazes south.  i wonder what he is pondering. south is where home-home is.  south is where his backyard is, where he runs in gleeful circles when the dachshunds next door are out in their yard.  south is where he goes on extended errands in the scion, where unka john comes over, where the upstairs gives babycat space from him and for him.  south is where he barks and rules the domain that is clearly his.

i wonder what he is thinking.  is he wondering what it all means?  is he curious about when he will be home-home next?  is he wondering where we are now?  does he like this location, full of wildlife he hasn’t seen before?  does he like the smaller space, putting us four all together more?  does he like the treat he and babycat get every time we arrive home, the “mom-and-dad-are-home-treat”?  does he like to fall into dreams at “sleepynightnight” time in his familiar crate in a mostly unfamiliar place, next to our bed as usual?

babycat was slower to adjust.  his adjustment came under the bed in the middle room, as he sorted through his “where-the-heck-are-we-and-did-anyone-ask-me-if-i-wanted-to-come?”  eventually he came out from under the bed and started finding that, yes indeedy, there is a bed with the quilt he recognizes that he can sleep on.  and yes, indeedy, “they” brought my favorite toy, the turbo-scratcher-round-circle-chasing-ball toy.  and yes, indeedy, it’s a different food bowl, but it’s the same food.  he has discovered that he can sit by the french door to the deck and watch seagulls and ducks and geese and bald eagles flying past and above.  it’s work but someone has to do it, and babycat is all-in.  yes, all is seemingly well in babycat land now.

adjustments are a bit easier when your unicorn toy and bones and treats and chasing-toy and leash and kibble are there, are the same.

i, too, have sat on the edge of the lake and gazed south.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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slow. slow. [two artists tuesday]

deer in woods copy.PNG

slow. slow.  when we drove home the other day, we realized how very slowly we were moving here on island.  the comparison began the instant we were on the mainland.  we hadn’t driven over 40mph for a couple weeks; suddenly we could feel the push, the frenzy to get somewhere, fast, faster.  it’s pervasive, that frenetic energy, and the closer we got to milwaukee, the more we could feel it.  our heartbeats raced as cars darted in and out of lanes, as horns beeped and drivers gestured impatiently.  no one noticed each other.  they just drove, destination their only intention.

slow. slow.  we walked home the other night.  after porch-sitting and having a short meeting, we ambled down the middle of the road.  no one was coming; no one passed us.  the interruption in quiet would have alerted us to any oncoming car.  we shared the woods around us with a deer, who was still, watching us for signs if we were going to approach.  our pause on the road and our slow movements convinced the deer to not run, but to stay and just be still.  to watch.  an eagle flew above us.  looking up, there was a moment we recognized that this eagle saw us.   the deer, the eagle, noticed us.  we were in the world together in those moments.  no intention but to breathe the same air.

slow. slow.  we are learning, slowly, about this community.  connecting the dots, discerning the culture, perceiving the nuances.  we are studying this place that is our job – a performing arts center with 250 seats on a tiny island you can only get to by ferry.  a step away-away.  a place in which we want to elevate artistry and growth.  we move slowly, thoughtfully.  our intention, our work, the maturing of this place that has been germinated and cared for.  a rich garden, a rich forest of verdant adolescence, waiting to flourish.  slow.  slow.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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morning lake. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

two birds and an island

the lake wakes up different every day.  our little bay is moody and this pensive morning was not willing to add much color.  water morphed into sky which morphed into water and, were it not for hog island and two birds, it would be hard to tell where they each started and ended.

every day we are on island i will take a picture of the morning lake.  its hues, its movement, its message for the day.

today, as i look at this photograph with two birds and an island, i am quieted into thinking about the day.  in looking at the date, i note that 27 years ago today i lost my big brother.  i wonder if he is gazing out at this morning lake with me.  i wonder if he looks out on the day, its hues, its movement, the message of this good earth’s day.  i wonder if he has snapshots of every morning from heaven.

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

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the clothesline. plenty of time. [two artists tuesday]

the clothesline

if you are watching hgtv and they are touting the positives of having a washer-dryer combo all-in-one, don’t believe them.  we quickly discovered that the dryer part of the washer-dryer was in name only.  unless you have hours to wait and money to toss for the added electricity, the “dryer” is more like a wringer-outer that removes some of the moisture from your laundry.

and so, on this little island, for this summer, we now have a …. wait for it … clothesline.  after a trip to the mercantile where we bought line and clothespins, d installed it and voila! we have a “dryer”!!!  the breezes off the lake and the sun dry our laundry quickly and dogdog loves to help with the hanging-out and taking-down of clothes on the line.  i feel myself channeling my sweet momma as i shake the clothes taking them out of the basket before hanging, lessening possible wrinkles, and again shake the clothes as i take it them off the line, lessening possible hitchhikers.  it feels like time-ago.  it’s refreshing and pretty heavenly.  there’s plenty of time.  and the laundry dries.

we have found that we needed to slow down a bit here.  we drive slower, for wildlife is everywhere and you must be careful.  we walk slower – in the middle of the road – for there are far fewer cars and no frenzy.  we have fewer errands, for there are not many places to shop.  we see that we will see change slower, for the wheels of progress are big ole tires here, turning slowly as a big tractor down a mottled dirt road.  we wave at everyone we go by, we stop and talk, we laugh about our long tenure here – a whopping fourteen days.  we know we will slowly become a part of this place.  there’s plenty of time.

we were at a new friend’s house high on a bluff in the woods overlooking the lake the other night.  we were telling a story and i said something to our host about not doing nutshells very well; she interrupted my apology and said, “there’s no rush.  tell the whole story.  we have plenty of time.”

you have to plan a little differently with a clothesline.  adjustment is necessary.  a day which dawns rainy and grey will not be a good clothesline day.   and so, you must choose a different day.  for there is plenty of time.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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