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free solo. [merely a thought monday]

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while i laid awake, i tried to picture how i would react to someone literally placing me – without ropes – several hundred feet up a sheer granite wall, my hands gripping a crack and small outcropping, my feet perched on a slight deviation in the granite face.  it made my hands sweat and my heart race thinking about how paralyzed by fear i would be, unable to move either hand or foot.  THIS is out of my comfort zone. far out.  and i couldn’t get the image out of my mind.

the wind was gusting about 35mph and there were tiny snow squalls on the way to madison.  we were on our way to a movie theatre for a national geographic release of the movie FREE SOLO, the documentary capturing alex honnold’s successful free solo scaling of el capitan in yosemite.  free solo.  without benefit of any ropes or safety gear.  just his hands, his feet, climbing chalk, and memorization, no – absolute physical retention – of the precise moves he would make on the way up this 3000′ beautiful monster.

alex doesn’t talk about his fear much.  he, instead, speaks of enlarging his comfort zone, little by little.  his somewhat unemotional approach to this challenge is daunting.  one of his support team said words to the effect that alex had this challenge:  like an olympic athlete he needed to win the gold.  no ifs, ands or buts.  it was the gold or he would fall to his death.  who does that?!!  the black and white of that makes my breathing pause.  but alex pressed on.  clearly his comfort zone is huge, that bubble around him.  at least when it comes to mountains.

i know, as fascinated as i am with mountains and climbing stories of all sorts, that this is not something i could or would do.  my mountains are different than that and my comfort zone bubble has more to do with my artistry, music, writing.  not necessarily less scary, but certainly less physically demanding and clearly, without a doubt, less treacherous.  but we are not limited to one mountain at a time.

each of us has this bubble and i picture pushing on the walls of the chrysalis, little by little conquering the fear of the outside – whatever the challenge or challenges – making our way, without ropes or safety equipment, into the next step of our lives.  we try to “dream big.”  we “go after it.”  we “just do it.”  but in reality, with no protective membrane around us, we first have to gear up, face fear vs comfort, garner courage and climb.  yes. we free solo every day.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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you just might become inspired. [chicken marsala monday]

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we drove through the plains, through the flint hills, through rolling prairie, through mountain passes, hills dotted with sagebrush, desert adorned with red rock formations.  we drove past working cattle farms, deer and antelope in the wild, horse ranches with fencing that went on forever.  we stopped in little towns high in elevation, two-building towns in the middle of mountain roads, towns with fancy boutiques and eateries, towns with little shops with names like ‘heart and sleeve’.  we met people who were little-town-leery-of-newcomers, people who embraced us, people just doing their job, people going out of the way doing their job.  we saw the wonder of a clear mountain night sky, streams dropping thousands of feet off red rock, arches that had invited themselves into a formation, blue-blues juxtaposed with green-greens and very-burnt-siennas, the grey and white of rocky mountains.  we felt the heat of the desert sun, the cool of a mountain river, the pouring-down rain of a passing colorado storm, the peace of high-elevation night air.  we sipped coffee in bed in a sweet southwest adobe house, lots of water on every trail, wine on the balcony overlooking the mountains and gin and tonics on the porch overlooking the town.  we shared time, laughter, dinners, lunches, even breakfasts, stories, Lumi-dog, tears, adventures and car rides with The Girl. we spent moments with people important to her and people we met along the way who are now our friends, generous people, kind people.  we collected stones in the river, sandstone in the desert, brochures and new colloquial expressions, the cherished sound of The Girl laughing, hugs and what it feels like to once again hold my daughter, goofy moments, sunburned noses, recipes, ideas and cardboard starbucks espresso cups we’ll use later to walk around the ‘hood with wine.  we loved the moment a way-younger-guy-with-great-dreadlocks passed us holding hands and walking on the sidewalk in a little high valley town and said, “you guys are cute.”

and every one of these things…all of this…inspired me.

so now i have photos and memories, receipts, rocks and prayer flags, matching braided leather bracelets and a shirt from the town where The Girl snowboard-instructs…all pieces of what will now be reminders.  reminders of every single thing that inspired me, inspires me, will inspire me.

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read DAVID’S thoughts on being inspired

chicken marsala monday – on our website

be careful. you just might become inspired. ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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mountain in yellow sky [dr thursday]

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when i see images of mountains these days, i naturally think about kirsten and becky.  The Girl is living the out-in-the-high-mountains life and the photographs she sends me are nothing short of stunning.  i love every moment i spend out there, so i can appreciate wholeheartedly her finding her “place”.

when i was little, we used to go to the mountains in upstate new york.  my sweet momma and poppo would rent a cabin in a state park and we would travel up there; they would always allow me to take a friend – most of the years this was susan.  i was the youngest by FAR (haha! are you reading this, seester?) so i was the only one left in the house.  i was always thrilled to have my siblings’ families with us as well.  my nieces and nephew were adorable.  plus heather was the perfect foil on the mountainside beaches (and long island beaches as well); as a toddler she flirted with every cute boy around every time i took her there.  she was with me a lot as a little girl; i took her everywhere in my little vw bug, especially in the summer.  nothing like a little girl who would seemingly deliberately throw the frisbee onto the next blanket where a cute boy was sitting and listening to his transistor radio.  what a fun way to meet ‘people’.  wink!

later in life, my parents rented  condos in the mountains of tennessee and the whole family joined them there.  sunsets behind the big deck of the clubhouse, shrimp boils in the field, frisbee and hiking.  those are treasured memories.

this image MOUNTAIN IN YELLOW SKY reminds me of every good mountain memory. its warmth, its simplicity.  both appeal to me.  the really funny thing is that this is just a mere morsel of one of david’s paintings.  together on the beach CANVAS copythe painting TOGETHER ON THE BEACH is where i found this and extracted it to create a whole new image. when i asked david where i could find this canvas in the studio the other day, he told me he had painted over it.  what?!  what was he thinking?! fortunately, i still have the image i took of it and have created a canvas art print of that painting and a close-up of it as well.

MOUNTAIN IN YELLOW SKY…just a little piece of TOGETHER ON THE BEACH.  both simple.  both dreamy.  both beautiful.

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click here (or on product box above) to browse: wall art, wall murals, mugs, tote bags, throw pillows, cards, beach towels, bath accessories, cards, cellphone cases, laptop sleeves, blankets, bedding, leggings…

DR THURSDAY (DAVID ROBINSON THURSDAY) – ON OUR SITE

read DAVID’S thoughts on this DR THURSDAY

mountain in yellow sky/together on the beach ©️ 2018 david robinson, kerri sherwood

 


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the mountains are calling.

there is a spot when you are driving to colorado that – all of a sudden – the mountains come into view. they are far away, on the horizon, but their presence hits me to the core. every single time i catch my breath. every single time i get tears in my eyes. every single time i anticipate the air i feel there, the space, the vastness, the greatness, the majesty of those ever-present giants.

we come over the rise of the pass and i instantly weep. there in front of us are these incredible soaring heights of rock, dotted with gorgeous green pine trees, verdant aspens. every single time i catch my breath. every single time i weep. every single time i anticipate the air i feel there, the space, the vastness, the greatness, the majesty of those ever-present giants.

we sit in adirondack chairs in the snow, midway up a-basin, soaking in the sun, eating baradirondackchairsAbasinbecue, listening to a band. in front of us, hundreds of spring skiers and boarders go past us – we virtually have front row seats. we watch the girl approach from the heights of the ski mountain…she gets closer, closer. her ability on that snowboard astounds us. she is one with it; her passion for the snow obvious in her huge laughter as she stops abruptly in front of us, deliberately and generously spraying us with snow and slush. leighonsnowboardi catch my breath as i look at my beautiful daughter, the mountains behind her, intense sun. i laugh, all the way from my heart, as i celebrate with her. this air, this space, this vastness, this greatness, this majesty.

one of our hikes was about 6 miles, half of that all uphill. not uphill like the little hill that used to be at the end of the road i grew up on, where you could not pedal all the way down and the momentum would take you all the way around the corner and beyond. no, this uphill is serious. i’m not sure of the elevation gain, but, after the hike, i would swear it paralleled everest.  …ok, maybe not so much… regardless, it was uphill in snow. snow! we were hiking well into june and there was snow on this trail. lots of it. feetinsnowhikingthe air was clear and crisp. the sun dappled through the trees. (haven’t you always wanted to write that? “dappled through the trees.”)   when you are on the mountain hiking, you aren’t as aware of the mountain, if that makes sense. (i remember one time out in the colorado mountains when i was heading to a concert venue and they gave me directions through high elevation plains.  i drove along, wondering where the mountains had gone.  when you are up on them, you don’t see them.  so much like life, eh?)  but when you are hiking and you come up to a clearing kdotatclearingand there is a break in the trees and you can see beyond where you are standing, beyond the trail, beyond limitations, you can see that the mountains out there go on and on and on. we came upon such a clearing and i caught my breath. i didn’t want to turn around. i wanted to keep going and going. to see more of this space, this vastness, this great majesty.

we were driving down the mountain and came upon a lookout with a trailhead. stopping to get out and stretch our legs on the trail we took a few pictures. (this is a never-ending thing…there is an incredible photograph every other second. you have to be careful to not get lost behind the camera – sometimes you miss the moment that way.)  the photographs looked not “real”  –  the beauty so …….what word is bigger than astounding? i stand and look out in amazement.   tears of gratitude and joy and sheer life make me catch my breath.   once again, that air, that space, that vastness, that greatness, the majesty. all right there.

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it’s funny how when i write about these mountains, this place, i can’t seem to stay in the same tense. if she reads this, andrea will shake her head and wonder if i remember anything she taught me about writing back in high school. but there is something that dominates my need for tense-correctness in this writing. it’s the holding-on-feeling-it-still-ness of these moments. it confuses the tense use, but helps me – viscerally – like goose bumps on my skin – remember. so i will forgo correctness for anything to burn these golden moments – like a kiln with raku pottery – into my memory bank, open to draw upon any time i need to.

i cry a lot in the mountains. it’s always good. it’s Divine Intervention reminding me to breathe, touch, taste, see, feel each and every moment. they are vast and great and majestic. every one is our own mountain. and yes, they are calling.

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