reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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“go away!” yikes. [two artists tuesday]

go away 1 copy

“GO AWAY” it reads.  the sign on this front door is bracing.  not just a polite “no soliciting” or even a rougher “no trespassing”, “GO AWAY” is kind of frightening.  i don’t really like aggressive people…the kind of people who choose attack-mode first, before anything else.  the kind of people who act like they are “communicating”, but are, indeed, just stoking the fire with toxic non-communicative venom.  yikes.  GO AWAY.

reading the news app on our phones each morning makes us think the words “GO AWAY” every day.  certain folks, bullying and disrespectful, on all sides of the aisle, rungs of the ladder and regardless of their political leanings, need to tame their thinking and rhetoric.  it’s bracing.  yikes.  GO AWAY.

the person revving their engine in the car behind you.  they weave back and forth from one side of the lane to the other, flashing lights, putting their car into neutral, revving once again…all while you search for a place to safely pull over so that they might pass, despite the passing-zone you are driving in.  their angry behavior is bracing.  yikes.  GO AWAY.

the problem with all of this is that making someone GO AWAY doesn’t really make them go away.  it just nullifies the problem for a moment or two.  it doesn’t render them less aggressive; it doesn’t enlighten them.  it just makes you THINK they are gone.  unless you hold the whole world in a restraining-order-pose, you will have to deal with aggressive people and their aggression.  there must be a common place we can all share.

maybe we don’t really need signs that say “GO AWAY”.  maybe we need signs that say “COME IN.  LET’S TALK.”

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the tape box. [two artists tuesday]

bcat tape box copy

i’m not sure why babycat thought we expected him to go sit in the square.  but he did.  jen had told us about this experiment….put blue tape on the floor and see what your cat does.  laughing, we tried it.  and b-cat cooperated.  it wasn’t minutes after the tape was on the floor that he entered the kitchen, looked at it and went directly to it.  he sat his sweet hulking body down inside that tape-box and eventually he laid down inside it (although he was definitely coloring outside the lines, so to speak.)  it was astounding to watch.  this is a cat, after all.  and yes, he has really loved the dogbed in the sunroom and the crest box in the sitting room, but a box made of painter’s tape?  we just didn’t expect him to conform so readily.

most of the time, b-cat lives his life outside the box.  he acts more like a dog than a cat; i had never had a cat before him so i taught him all sorts of dog-tricks.  babycat doesn’t really know the difference, although were he to look it all up, he would see ‘follows the sun around the house’ was in the rule book for cats, not dogs.  but this one evening, with no prompt from us, he decided to stay inside the box.  he sat, he laid down, he purred in his sleep.  he was content.  inside the box wasn’t too bad, i guess.   later on, though, when the tape was off the floor, he didn’t seem to notice it was gone.  he never looked for it.  he didn’t seem to pine for its presence in his life.  he just went about his not-normal-cat behavior.  outside the box.

i guess there is something to be said both about living in the box and living outside the box.  both have merit.  one encourages you to be the cat you are defined to be.  the other allows you to be the dog no one expects you to be.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the wheels of change. [two artists tuesday]

wheels of change copy

the tread matters not.  the wheels of change are constant.  fluid.  ever-rolling.

we have watched bristol woods change.  we hike there often and have gotten to know trees and turns in the trail personally.  many months ago we knew a decision was made to build a high ropes “adventure” course in part of the park.  we have watched its birth; we have witnessed the change.  the big machinery is out there.  gravel roads are cut.  trees have been removed.  tall poles have been installed and ropes are now hung between them.  the county’s position is that this will be a good thing, generating revenue that would go back into “upkeep and improvements”.

all this remains to be seen.  it would just be my hope that they haven’t lost sight of the simplest reasons for this place to exist, the quiet reasons, the pure reasons.  what is that expression….”penny wise, pound foolish.”  sometimes cutting corners or chasing the shiny new thing isn’t the wisest move in the long run.  you lose the sure foundation, not recognizing what it is you are losing, the steadfast movement underestimated, the maturity of the woods undervalued.  the wheels of change keep going and the concentric circles of impact widen ever-further out.  david’s mom uses the expression “ever-forward” when she signs an email.   sometimes forward is forward.  and sometimes forward is not so forward.

i can feel the wheels of change.  the tread, and therewith the pace, is not yet so evident to me.  i’m not sure if it’s road-bike-tire-thin or monster-650-tractor-tire-thick, but they are there, turning, turning.  ever-forward…

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the icefall. [two artists tuesday]

ice castle 1 copy

the icefall was in front of us.  we had our crampons on and the ropes were secured.  ladders were stretched across the crevasses and we had weighty backpacks filled with dehydrated food, protein bars and water.  we were ready.

ha!  in our dreams.

we climb mount everest regularly.  now, don’t get all particular about whether this is literal or not.  i am a giant fan of all-things-everest so we lose our breath watching others climb on video clips, movies, in books.  we are soooo there.  but, no, not really THERE.

i can’t imagine climbing everest actually.  the perils, the training, the cold, the cost, the crowds (!) all point to the fact that i won’t be climbing everest.  but we can climb other mountains, literal and figurative, and stand at the summit shooting selfies with a triumphant expression, realizing a dream.  on our way back down we pass others on the way up; some linger on the ropes, unable to move.  we offer encouraging words, but, in our conquest, we have already forgotten what it felt like to hang, even momentarily, on the rope, paralyzed.

we all have icefalls in front of us.  they are insurmountable.  they are surmountable.   perhaps some crampons, ropes, ladders and a backpack filled with food and water will help.  believing we can realize a dream, overcome an obstacle is the first step.

and, even more,  remembering that bit of humility toward others, vulnerable on their way up while we are on our victorious way back down.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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maturity in season of life. [two artists tuesday]

maturity with background

this came across my desk last week. “maturity in season of life.” part of a minister of music job description, i was struck by the unguarded language, the bow to what only time and experience can teach.  i have never seen this written as such before.  it was bracing in every GOOD way.  it was appreciatory.  it was a breath of fresh air.

in a society that seeks to remain youthful and puts less emphasis on maturity in season of life than on staying young, we need remember there’s a place for everyone.  some places require youth, fresh and breathing hard from the sprint.  other places recognize the need for the steadfast wisdom of the ages, a decision-maker-doer who brings a lifetime of positive and negative experiences and knows how to differentiate between them, has an intuition built on time and the ever-growing wealth of lessons.  the seesaw has room for both; the fulcrum can only balance with both.

as two artists living together, we are more than aware of the challenge of ageism, the challenge of time spent in our artistry and how that relates to value.  more than a thousand times we have each been admonished for thinking we need to be paid when we should be grateful for the “exposure” we are being “granted”.  more than a thousand times we have each been in a place where we have had to explain why our artistry needs to be financially rewarded just like anyone else’s work.

indeed, pay scales have been built to reflect time spent and job descriptions use verbiage like “pay is commensurate with experience.”  experience.  maturity:  “the ability to respond to the environment in an appropriate manner.  being aware of the correct time and location to behave and knowing when to act, according to the circumstances and the culture of the society (read: job) one lives in (read: one works in).”

i recently was having a written messaging chat with a hard-working young adult whose job is in the arts.  with these challenges facing him every day, he said that people do not realize that “they’re paying me to know what to do if things don’t go well.”  intuition.  working on the fly based on training, knowledge and an ever-building bank of experiences.   he will continue to face that challenge; it will only deepen.  how is that maturity measured?  how will he be paid for that maturity, for that which he cannot describe and for which others cannot fathom?  for some reason, in this society, it is easier to answer that question if you are doing a numbers job, something seemingly more concrete, more measurable, more quantifiable.

but maturity in season of life touches others as well and we have dear friends who have been ‘let go’ from their jobs simply because of their age.  now, their companies would never testify to that and are careful to avoid such language – for that would set them up for all kinds of legal problems – but it has been clear to our friends, struggling to find a new way in later days of their lives.  few and far between are those who are able to benefit by pointing out the error of their ways to the company that is undervaluing a later human-on-this-earth season.  other friends are fortunate enough to be working somewhere that has deeply valued the long time they have spent in their work and these friends have retired with spoken words of gratitude and wishes of continued good living.  where is the fulcrum?

in this particular document that came across my desk, the whole phrase read, “maturity in season of life and maturity in ministry experience.”  shockingly, they are seeking this as a qualifier and they are willing to pay for it.  speaking directly to that qualifier that beautifully honors the wisdom of the ages, there are things that, as a minister of music at 19 i did not know.  there are things that, as a minister of music at 32 i did not know.  likewise, as a 30-years-as-a-minister-of-music at days-away-from-60, of course there are things i do not know.

what i DO know is that every experience i have had as a minister of music has built upon the last.  instead of a chasm where learnings have dropped rapid-fire into an abyss, i have learned what the important stuff is and how to attempt to keep those things foremost.

like anyone in any job, mastery is commensurate with time spent, with growth in that work, and yes, without exception, with maturity in season of life.

“take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.” (desiderata)

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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our prayer flags. [two artists tuesday]

prayer flags copy

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.

read DAVID’S post this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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a matter of perspective. [two artists tuesday]

skewed -framed copy

corrugated metal.  i have a thing about it.  i have a thing about texture.  and a thing about capturing texture on film.  i love design and white space and fonts, simplicity and the challenge of balance.  this image started with the side of a building against clean snow.  i felt (and still feel) connected to this building and what it represented, so its texture is beautiful to me; the image both inspires and saddens me.  an experiment in contrast and point of view, it may be hard for a viewer to discern what the original pure image might have been.  manipulating it, changing what the viewer would see is simply an orchestration of color and space, light and dark, angle and edge, point and counterpoint (melody) lines.  skewing it changes the emotional response; although it remains fundamentally the same, it becomes something slightly different and is seen through a different lens.  it’s all a matter of perspective.

how we look at anything.  how we see anything.  how the pieces come together, how we view them, how we sort, how we sometimes have to let go.  it’s all a matter of perspective.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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SKEWED ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson