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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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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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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.”

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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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.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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eileen’s gloves. [two artists tuesday]

eileen's gloves

i remember i wore gloves the day i flew to finland with my grandmother mama dear.  i was eight and i wore my sunday finest.  i even wore a hat with my fancy dress, because that is how you flew – all dressed up.  it was 1967 and we were departing for ten weeks together in scandinavia.

i remember lawn chairs in the front yard, my grandparents watching me hula hoop and skateboards with my brother and sister down the driveway.   playing croquet with an old wooden set on the front lawn, kickball in the street, s-p-u-d across the neighbors’ yards and chasing fireflies clutching jars with punched-hole-lids so we could capture, watch and release them.

i remember riding bikes all over long island with my best friend susan.  we’d tell my sweet momma we’d be home for dinner and off we’d go.  just two girls on bikes, riding miles to the beach or a state or county park or each other’s houses, or just anywhere, with stops at carvel or friendly’s or mcdonald’s.  no cellphones, no gps, no worries, no fear.

i remember in the mid and late 90s flying midwest express, often.  the airline served actual meals on real plates with real cutlery, with champagne or mimosas or glasses of wine, depending on the time of day.  they made warm chocolate chip cookies and brought them after the meal with hot cups of good coffee in real stoneware mugs.  i dressed appropriately – in clothing that said i respected this lovely flight and those around me, the attendants working hard to make the experience pleasant.

i remember the day i flew to meet david’s family in 2013 the flight attendant asked me if i wanted to purchase water.  water!  no tiny bag of pretzels, no meal, no freebies, not even water.  i had jeans and flipflops on, many people around me in their sweats.

time had passed.

the relics of a simpler time gone by remain.  while helping 20 prepare his momma’s house for an estate sale, i opened a drawer next to the bed.  in it were gloves – mostly white, but a pair or two of black or brown.  there were short gloves and long gloves, cotton gloves and soft leather gloves.  gloves with bows and gloves with seed pearls.  gloves carefully placed together with their mates, clean and ready for wearing.

i wonder when the last time was that eileen wore these.  for that time has passed.  and we can only now vaguely remember it –  a time when people celebrated occasions with stockings and heels and gloves to the elbow, customer-appreciation-gratis mimosas on airplane flights and kickball in the street.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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