reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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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

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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

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


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road shadows. together. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

road shadows

watching as the ferry arrived, we were practically jumping up and down with glee.  our up-north-gang was arriving and the ferry was taking a few minutes too long to dock.  we had been anticipating them for weeks, our company log on island too few.

it’s not like there is a ton of stuff to show them here or, really, to do.  but there are friend groups who don’t need stuff to see or do; instead they are just there to simply be together.

they are there to laugh at funny hair in the morning, sip coffee and wait in line for the one bathroom.  they are there to pile in and out of the truck, dodge raindrops, play short-list tourist.  they are there, wishing for sun but not minding the bad weather that moves in, content to just be together. they are there to make mimosas and old-fashioneds, pour wine and have more snacks than you can imagine.  they are there to take turns cooking, cleaning up, always gabbing, always laughing.  they are there in the tough moments, profound and honest conversation, balancing, disarming the sting of the sword.  they are there walking side by side, talking and being quiet.  they are there playing games in evening dark, heads drooping with sleep, wishes of sweet dreams.  they are there, together.

we watched as the ferry left, both of us feeling instantly wistful.  our up-north gang leaving for the mainland.  as always, we were ever-so-grateful to have been together.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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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

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sketch to remember. [d.r. thursday]

sketch

we canoed out to hog island.  it is a bird sanctuary and so we could not get out to walk around the giant rock that it actually is.  seagulls and pelicans, terns and geese congregate on this tiny island and they are protected, their habitat is protected.

each morning, each evening i stand at water’s edge and gaze out on the lake toward little hog island.  i watch as the lake changes, sometimes hourly.  i can hear the birds out on that island, the waterfowl, the screeching seagulls, cranes in the distance.  behind me, david is busy with his sketchbook, drawings passing through his hands, fodder for later paintings.  for me, standing there, lyrics pass through my mind.  i breathe slower and without paper i try to remember them, try to remember the melody that flits through, beckoning me to follow it.  i jot it all down once inside, fodder for later songs.

we walk usually every day.  sometimes in the morning, sometimes at night.  we take the same path that leads us about three miles, watching the woods as they change.  there is a place we pass, fenced in and covered with some kind of netting, a low building in the distance.  two months ago, we had no idea what it was all for.  but as time has passed, the pheasants have grown and now we can see them in the enclosed area.  they are protected.  for now.  because we understand that they soon will be released.  as soon as the dnr hunting season starts.  i stand, staring at them through the woods, through the fence and i breathe slower, tears starting.  it is hard for me to have walked this way every day now, knowing they are right there, peeping and crowing, growing, unaware.  not knowing, i imagine the worst – like ‘the hunger games‘ – release them and then chase them down.  it makes me shudder.

a bird sanctuary.  a bird farm.  the juxtaposition is like the lake – fickle and hard to understand.  one minute serene and calm and protected, the next churned up with irregular-rhythm-waves that batter the shore, dangerous and unprotected.

i wish that the pheasants were on hog island instead of around the block.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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SKETCH ©️ 2019 david robinson

 


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kind of awesome. [merely-a-thought monday]

your day

when packages arrive here, you get either a phone call or a text from the ferry dock.  you are told that a package will be arriving and that you can pick it up after 4:45 at the ferry dock office.  it’s pretty exciting, especially when you don’t know what it is.  you arrive, curious.  if you are in the back room of the dock office, you are likely surrounded by amazon prime boxes, because amazon prime is definitely a thing here on island.  with a $53 round trip ferry price tag for the two of us to go shopping off-island, paying zero for delivery on items you can’t buy here anyway makes total sense.

last week we got a call.  it was the thursday of a for-various-reasons-really-rotten couple of weeks.  david had been having high fevers for over a week and we had to go off-island to a clinic for some bloodwork, which eventually revealed that he picked up lyme disease in the previous weeks here.  exhausted and shocked, we attempted to stay patient and treat his painful, confusing and somewhat scary symptoms while we waited for those results.  jen and brad knew we were waiting and they knew we were having some heftily trying days.

we left for the ferry dock at 4:30, our pace slow, watching for the sweet leggy deer that wander into the road.  david went in to get the package.  he came out with a big box, from wine.com, with the words: “fact:  your day just got kind of awesome.”  six bottles of our favorite friday-night-potluck wine were inside with a note of love.  you can bet that as early that evening as was acceptable, we opened one of those and toasted our dear dear friends and our gratitude for them.  kind of awesome.

we have wonderful friends at home.  we consider ourselves very fortunate.  20 was just up here for a couple days, replenishing groceries for us, sitting and talking and having the kind of conversation only people who have known each other for years have.  it was kind of awesome.  the up-north-gang is coming this week and we can’t wait.  they will bring snacks and laughter, hugs and listening ears, perspective and big heart. they asked for a list ahead of time, of things we might need that we don’t have access to.  our days with them will be kind of awesome.  back at home, our friends help take care of our home, assisting us from afar.  michele and john mow our lawn, loan their bike to my girl, ask how they can help.  linda and jim make us food and pour generous glasses of wine at the drop of a hat.  dan brings a new dehumidifier.  kind of awesome.  there are too many people to list.  there are too many people to thank. which is, in and of itself, kind of awesome.

today, with a deeply sombered heart, i am aware of a young woman who is losing her grasp on life.  with the thinnest of thread she clings, struggling against a plethora of sudden medical emergencies.  i don’t know the whole story.  i just know that this young woman, with a huge life force, may be moving on to a different plane of existence.  and it very well might be today.  today.  i think about that.  today.  toDAY.

every day we have the opportunity to help make someone’s day kind of awesome.  we can choose that or we can choose to perpetuate something different.  we can gift someone with kind words, kind deeds, or we can be, well, rotten.  we can ignore people’s hearts or we can tend to them.

it’s a choice every day.  fact.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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in the gray. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

stripes of grey

grey/gray rarely has such a line of demarcation, rarely has distinctive texture such as in this picture beyond our littlehouse yard.  grey is simply gray.  it is the zone of not right/not wrong.  it is the living in-between-ness of doing life this way/that way.  it is the space of not-knowing, asking questions, learning, being vulnerable.  it can be uncomfortable.  but it is necessary.

the most growing i have done has been in the grey zones.  the times when i did not know, the times i made mistakes, the times choices were confusing, the times devastated by life events, the times moving forward meant tiny baby step by baby step, the times i was vulnerable.

last night there was an artist, an author, at TPAC who spoke of vulnerability.  he said that vulnerability leads to gratitude.  it is the path to grace and mercy.  i agree.

i would add we can never know, or even approximate, what someone else is feeling without being unguarded ourselves.  we can never know the unanswered questions, the struggles, the amorphous-ness of life without the grey.  we can never create without the grey – for an artist languishes in grey, if for no other reason than to seek the color within himself.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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