reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


Leave a comment

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

october shadows des plaines website box

 


Leave a comment

rug. [two artists tuesday]

the rug

once upon a time, a geometric rug found its way onto our doorstep.  it was carried in and put in the dining room, where all rolled-up geometric rugs go.  it was The Boy’s rug and it would wait for The Boy to come get it.  Rug waited and waited.  until one day, The Boy came.  Rug got excited.  it knew it was going to go with The Boy and be his Rug.  but The Boy gathered all the other large boxes in the dining room, which had become a holding ground for deliveries, and Rug heard him start his car and drive away.  Rug panicked, thinking perhaps he had done something wrong, perhaps he wasn’t wanted.  and so he sat, sad and alone, the only delivery left in the dining room, all rolled up and despondent.

until one day when we came home from the island.  we walked in, carrying boxes and bins, unloading them in, of course, the dining room.  there, leaning up against the cabinet, was Rug.  sorrowful, lonely, dejected, left-behind Rug.  i looked at the label on Rug and saw that it belonged to The Boy and so i assured Rug that we would bring him home.

like all other weird things we seem to get ourselves involved in, we decided to take the train to deliver Rug to The Boy.  we could have driven directly to his door in the big city, but for reasons hard to comprehend, we picked up Rug and carried him onto the train.  all three of us disembarked from the train and Rug and i looked at the gps on my phone.  a beautiful day, it was only 2 miles to walk to the front door of The Boy’s place.  and so, off we went.  happily scampering down the sunny sidewalks of the city, a big triangle grin on Rug’s face as he anticipated his new home.  we took Rug into a grocery store and rode up and down on an escalator, adventuring together.  back on the street, people gawked at us walking with Rug, for it is clearly not often enough that people take rugs for a walk.  when at last we got there, The Boy carefully unpackaged Rug and laid him on the floor, next to the new couch and under the new coffee table.  we left Rug to uncurl and went to lunch.

in the pouring rain, walking the two miles back to the train, we talked about our next adventure.  and we hoped that Rug was adjusting well.

PLEASE read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

laughing website box


Leave a comment

windsong of the flags. [two artists tuesday]

windblown flags

“So welcome the wind and the wisdom she offers
Follow her summons when she calls again
In your heart and your spirit let the breezes surround you
Lift up your voice then and sing with the wind” (john denver – windsong)

the ferry raised up on the crest of the wave, angry sea all around us, the wind howling.  then, just as smoothly as it rode the way up, it trounced down into the trough between the waves.  the water rose over the ferry, splashing all the cars and running down the deck toward the stern.  the wind kept howling.

it was a day like that.  flags at 90 degrees, parallel to the ground.  our prayer flags have seen many like that; the wind has tattered them.  prayers have been released into the universe with gentle breezes; prayers have been thrust into the universe with forceful winds.

i tend to prefer the days without tempestuous winds.  the lake has an uneven surf on those turbulent days, the rhythm as they hit shore not intuitive or familiar and one that i find unsettling.

yet i am reminded that this same wind i face down at the shoreline is also the wind at my back.  it is the wind of wisdom and movement.  the wind that carries me away, the wind that surrounds me with those who have gone before me, the wind of growth and courage.

and so, i welcome the wind.  i watch as so.many.prayers. are freed to fly.  i give thanks for the gusts, unfettered dreams and wishes, each step aided by the wind.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

windyHHwebsite box

 


Leave a comment

the first fire. [two artists tuesday]

first fire

there is something about firsts.  a novelty.  and it was no different the first night – a week or so ago – when we lit the wood burning stove in our littlehouse.  the first fire of fall.  excited, we watched as the fire got hotter and the bigger pieces of wood started to catch.  as it all started to be aflame, the chill, that a grey misty fog, an angry lake and a stormy day had created, left the littlehouse.  we sank into the new warmth of the living room, our feet up and grins of satisfied appreciation on our faces, staring into the dancing fire, grateful for its presence.  at home we have a fireplace inside, and a chiminea on our patio, but no wood burning stove.  it’s a novelty for us.

how many times will it be before getting wood for the stove and starting the fire will not be as gleeful?  how many times before we don’t just sit with our feet up and stare into those flames?  how many times before we take it for granted, this divine little maker of fire and warmth? how many times before the novelty wears off?

i once read a card i found quoting marcel proust, “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new sights, but in looking with new eyes.”

because the novelty does wear off.  in all arenas, i suppose.  not just in how you see others, but also in how others see you.  suddenly it is forgotten what IT was like before you (whether IT is a home, a relationship, a community, a work environment).  instead, the novelty has faded and so has the ‘before’.  suddenly, you – in any of those places – are just a bean counter, a placeholder, and the novelty of you, for we are all novel, is no longer a matter of interest or value.  instead, all becomes black and white, the relationship of you to those places – a home, a relationship, a community or a work environment.  i wonder what we are all missing with our under-appreciative eyes.  i wonder what they are all missing with their under-appreciative eyes.  the novelty is gone.  and you have thus become dispensable, all for the lack of new eyes.  wow.  ouch.

we need take stock of what is around us and how it all works together.  before it is gone.  we need remember that -in every arena- we should appreciate each other – as if it was the first fire of the season.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

tlccarpetwebsitebox

 

 

 

 

 

the second time we lit the stove, we weren’t quite as gleeful when the flame caught.  and the stove heated up the room a little too much, making


Leave a comment

best-laid plans. [two artists tuesday]

dock.jpg

what is it they say about the best-laid plans?

we loved the old dock on this property.  the old dock and the canoewith the exception of the spider webs that formed in-between the metal tying posts and the snakes that took to sunning on the warm old boards of the walkway,  it was charming.  the old bench at the end of the dock invited us to sit.  it stood stubbornly during rougher waters, its weathered patina and rusting pipes.

******

they decided it was time to refurbish the dock and two strappy island guys came in to do the job.  they took a few days over the period of a couple weeks to re-construct, to lay new boards over the old, to eliminate the spider-web-gatherers and to build a new bench. then they were done and the new dock was open for business.

less than a week, only one brief sit-on-the-bench moment and probably-before-the-bill-arrived later, the storm blew in.  the waves crashed on our shoreline, eroding away a good two to three feet, throwing debris onto the grass.

the dock tried.  it stood firm against the waves, larger than they said they had ever seen them in twenty years.  but it didn’t last.  the bench blew apart into the water, the new boarded walkway listed, listed.  and finally, gave way.  pieces of the new dock were angrily tossed to shore; even still, wood floats in the bay, riding the waves ever-closer to our little beach.

the best-laid plans, carefully schemed and financed.  much thought and choosing, each angle pondered.  solid weather-proofed wood purchased, big wood screws that could withstand stress chosen.  yet, the storms come.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

flipflops on the deck website box.jpg

the old dock and the canoe © 2019 kerri sherwood, david robinson


Leave a comment

ladders. [two artists tuesday]

ladders.PNG

gay pointed to the ladders in the backstage of tpac and said, “see those ladders?  the front silver one on the right is where you are.”

this is true.  we are clumsily perched on that front silver ladder.  there are people scattered about on the other ladders, many of whom are on the top of the tallest orange ladder up against the wall.  our view, on the shortest ladder, affords us the opportunity to look out, to look up and still to be able to easily see the ground.  the view from the highest ladder, extended well up the wall, is a view of vast height, a view without a cluster of other ladders, a view more singular.

it has been our experience as artists that we must explain our livelihood, we must fight for acknowledgement of experience, we must advocate for our own fiscal equality.  our work is not easily measurable, our effort not easily defined.  we bring to every experience all we have learned about what touches the hearts of others, what resonates, what we can do to lift a message, how we can craft a concept, how we can build a program and forge a community, how we can help others see what is inside each of them.  from our rung, we can still see the ground so we know that there are others less fortunate than us and we remember pretty clearly the route up this ladder, each rung a step, each rung a gratitude.

it has also been our experience that, in a world defined by financial success, there are many on those tall extension ladders, firmly grasping the tippy-top, who have lost the story of getting there.  it is my belief that, too often, there are those who, each rung they clamber up, have forgotten what it is like to be on the rung below.  the climb to success foregoes memory, it exempts empathy, it elicits a sense of superiority; it is not kind.  the naysayers poke at those who are on rungs below, prodding them but, alas, with no reality for where those below-climbers are.  assumptions are unfairly made about ability, intelligence, budgetary decisions, effort.

in this world of bills and responsibilities, work and play, absolute joys and deep sorrows, brilliant hopeful sunrises and exhausted sunsets, i wonder about the tippy-top.  i wonder if it is possible to be clinging to that tippy-top and still remember.

as much as that tippy-top sounds like a world without worry, i don’t mind being on the silver ladder in the front.  and every step we step, i want to remember the silver ladder in the front.

i know that each day there might be someone who just may need me to understand, without feigning it, where they are.  to be able to really grasp how they feel, despite not being in their very shoes.  i don’t want to be the person who looks back at them, fear filling their eyes with tears as they tell me they don’t have enough to make it, and condescendingly ask them if they want me to point them to a budget counselor.  instead i want to understand their frustration in poverty, be complicit in their growth – real growth, empathetic in their fear.  i want to hold their hand on the rung they are on and remember what it felt like on that rung.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

bootsbythestage website box.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

contrast principle. [two artists tuesday]

contrast principle

we are living the contrast principle.  the elementary-school-workbook-page-which-one-doesn’t-fit principle.  that can actually serve you well or it can be the bane of your existence.  i’ll allow you to decide which one you think it is for us.

we are not from here.  we do not have roots that go back a generation, two or three generations, seven generations.  we weren’t born here, nor have we been coming here for decades on vacation.  this is a new place for us.  we chose to come here.  and we came here out of great and positive intention.

when i first saw the ad for the position we ultimately accepted, we got excited and were instantly full of ideas and possibility.  with our backgrounds, our education, our professional experiences, it seemed a perfect fit.  with our artistry, our passion, our zeal, our energy, our ability to facilitate positive change, it seemed a perfect fit.  but that assumes a “fit” and it assumes trust and it assumes the best of the contrast principle.

we work to create relationship, to mend the crevasse between arts organizations and between groups of people, to structure and build community and let the arts rise.  we brainstorm and read and study – new initiatives, data of the past, stories of success and stories of failure.  we strive to re-commit each day, choosing to step past the rifts, past the dysfunction, past the you-don’t-belong-here-ness of it all.

because we did choose it.  we chose to be the daisy in the field of black-eyed-susans.  we chose to be the new in the old.  we chose the contrast principle.  it would just be nice for it to be a tad bit easier.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

tpac metal and feet website box

 the daisy in the black-eyed-susans © 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson