reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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small gestures. [two artists tuesday]

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the first time that i walked into the bathroom and saw my toothbrush pre-toothpasted for me i was surprised and floored.  no one (except my sweet momma) had ever pre-toothpasted my toothbrush for me before.  a small gesture, but i was deeply touched by this kindness.  i was off-island without d a few days last week and three times (!) i pre-toothpasted his home toothbrush as well as mine, without thinking.   small gestures become kind habits.

it’s the little things that count.  not the grandiose presents or sweeping plans.  it is the kiss on the back of your head, the carrying of your bags, the holding of your hand, the packed lunch, the note on the piano, the bacon on sunday, the coffee while your head is still on your pillow, the opening of a door for you, listening through the umpteenth repetition, the patiently-waiting while you scurry about finishing just-one-more-thing, the tetris-packing of the car, the prepping of dinner ingredients, the hug when you didn’t even know you needed one, the quiet support and noisier praise, the questions you don’t want to answer, the reminder of the breath you need to take…

and the toothpaste pre-pasted on your toothbrush.  small gestures.  kind habits.  love.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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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

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island prayer flags photograph ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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i don’t understand. [two artists tuesday]

canoe and dock

ahhh.  early morning.  it is sunday and we are writing a couple days ahead for a busy week.

as i sit here, in this beautiful “idyllic” place, i hear the rapid fire of gunshots.  i google, looking for a shooting range i have heard about, but to no avail.  sunday morning.  a time of reflection and peace.  and, apparently, gunfire.  i don’t understand.

a couple nights ago i woke up and could hear the sound of two men talking.  we rarely hear people talking here, at any time of day or night.  i didn’t know where they were, and i couldn’t understand what they were saying, but the last thing i heard was a gunshot.  nothing else.  why, on earth, would someone be shooting anything in the middle of the night?  i’ve been told that there is poaching and shining and that hunting is a big part of this place.  hunting what?  what season is this?  are people’s kitchen tables truly dependent on this?  there’s a grocery store.  i don’t understand.

this week, just one week, as you know, our country suffered four times at the hands of someone who chose to brutally end the lives of others.  intentionally.  with assault weapons.  my heart breaks.  again.  and i don’t understand.

it appears that we are on a path of self-destruction.  a garlic festival, shopping at walmart, enjoying a saturday evening downtown in a small city…these are normal activities.  these are opportunities for human beings – like you and me – to do the stuff of life or to gather together.  partners, families, children, friends.  people we know, people we do not know, all breathing in and breathing out just like we do.  life-doing and gathering together should not include terror.  it shouldn’t even include fear.  i don’t understand.

where are we headed?  will we continue to perpetuate hatred?  will we continue to feed division?  will we continue to kowtow to big money, to the needs of a few instead of the needs of many?  will we care?  will we continue to taunt and bully and fight?  will we continue to kill each other?  i don’t understand.

as i sit on the dock of the bay, looking at the horizon blending with the sky, one little tiny being in a vast universe, i just don’t understand.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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on the dock of the bay ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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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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and then they were gone. [two artists tuesday]

bayfly invasion

we drove to the post office, a tiny building about two miles from the ferry dock. when we got there, there were – what seemed like – a million bugs clinging to the side of the building. so. many. of. them.

because it’s what we do, we took pictures of them. and then inquired around about what they were. “may flies”, “bay flies” – apparently they go by different names. and they come in different sizes. but one thing is for certain. they come in mass. the tiny version invaded the island earlier in june. and now, all of a sudden, this bigger variety was here.

bayfly

they were literally everywhere. tenaciously holding onto the post office, gripping the metal sheeting of TPAC; buildings seemed to be their preferred lodging. they looked like strange dragonflies. they were kind of beautiful, this mass of insects, together.

and then they were gone.

and now we can just look at the photographs we took of these little creatures, wonder where they went and be perplexed about them.

i’m curious – if some day – some other being in the universe will be looking at photograph albums, scrapbooks, shutterfly books, envelopes of pictures, old yellowed newspapers – with pictures of people, all shapes and sizes and colors, en masse and alone – and think, “i wonder what they are. where did they go? how perplexing.”

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a familiar sight. [two artists tuesday]

jelly jars & sunset

this will become a familiar sight. sunset coloring the lake, an island populated by waterbirds in the distance, jelly jars in hand.  we have arrived.

fog dawned this day, which somehow seems apropos, considering.   dogdog and babycat are struggling to adjust – a different house – the “littlehouse” as opposed to “home”.  we are surrounded by bins and artwork and happy lights and a bulletin board full of photos. we have our picnic basket and our nespresso, office supplies and our peace signs. we’ve hung an old window frame and the chalkboard from our wedding. we have a vintage road-worn black suitcase just waiting to be filled with the stuff of this adventure. we have beach buckets with sunglasses and paintbrushes, kitchen utensils and a bottle of wine. we brought our cloth napkins, jelly jars and a set of our favorite bowls, our hydroflask coffee mugs and water thermoses, our lidded yeti wine tumblers. we have dogdog’s penguin, his lion, his candy cane and babycat’s chase-the-ball-in-the-circle plastic game. we have candles and clipboards, ukuleles, lawn games, and various devices that play music. we have threadied us up.

and it all boils down to this one thing – in my pocket now every day since jen gave it to me – a silver token that says PEACE.

right now, these thready things embrace me. they help with that peace I’m reminded of by this little token.

but this will all become a familiar sight. i know that.

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