reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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a flame through the night. [two artists tuesday]

tiki flame

we lit the torches about 5pm.  it was cold but not breezy and the lake was calm after several days of bigger surf.  it was the last night.

we sat on the back porch steps and watched the flame flicker.  we moved inside and watched it dance from the living room, a fire burning in the woodstove.  we checked the wind and the weather forecast and said goodnight to the torches late that night, flames glowing outside with boxes packed around us inside.  very early in the morning i could see the slightest of flame glimmering in the torches, the light of golden rising sun behind them.  all through the night.  they burned all through the night.

there was something profound about that for us – the flame that kept burning through the night.  i’m not sure i can speak to it.  i can just say that the welcome flame of the torches in the morning was calming, steadying, grounding.  indeed, the sun will set, night will descend, the sun will rise.  the flame continues.  light continues.

it was the last night on island, for now.  the first dawn of next.  and, as these things do – every sunrise and sunset – it has forever changed us.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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flame through the night image ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

 


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the thunder of the silence. [merely-a-thought monday]

TPAC empty seats

“…a silence like thunder…”

“no distinction is made between the sacred and the everyday.”

“our attitude toward the world resonates in the objects around us.  they reveal our intention.”

(from plain and simple, sue bender)

the first day i walked into the tiny lobby at TPAC i wondered why the table holding brochures was light blue.  it matched nothing there and was a statement of a kind of thoughtless we-need-a-small-table-does-anyone-have-one thoughtfulness.  all season long i kept thinking that it should be painted black.  the very last day in the theatre, outside in the chill air, surrounded by golden and crimson leaves, i painted it.  it dried fast and we placed it back in the lobby.  still the same little table doing its job, but its new distinction mattered and it fit in the space.  it did my heart good.

with multiple bags of old mayonnaise and mustard, an old container of kale and a moldy loaf of some kind of unidentifiable home-baked bread, i finished cleaning out the fridge, an appliance i had never opened for an entire season.  clearly, others had, and the accumulation of old-ness was ripe.  i scrubbed it out and stood back to look at how neat and tidy it was.  the whole kitchen area looked neat and tidy, a new keurig replacing an old coffeemaker and broken carafe.  shelves cleaned, toothpicks that had poured out swept up, a welcoming backstage entrance for staff and artists.  moving that space up to sacred-everyday from messy-everyday did my heart good.

the last couple weeks have been nesting weeks at TPAC, moments when d and i have had the space to ourselves.   having now passed through the shoulder season, it’s empty and it’s quiet.  the 250 seats wait for the next event, the off-the-shoulders season, the next new high season.  i can feel its curiosity, its expectation.

we sat in various seats around the theatre, talking about the dreams we had when we first saw it.  getting mired in the muck of being the you-aren’t-from-here-newbies had slowed things down.  it had paused our ownership of the actual space.  eh, who am i kidding?  it brought most of that to a screeching halt.  drama, three board presidents and a reticence to consider change from people hired as change agents (us) brought the gate down before we could even start.

we discovered the word ‘glacial’ and applied it generously to the direction we were going.  we didn’t try to change a space that didn’t feel like ours yet.  we didn’t try to change too many processes.  we stopped trying to change mindsets.

instead, we embraced people.  we listened; we learned.  we set out to weave relationships where they had eroded, where tattered feelings were wrung out, where we were told no relationship could work.  we befriended those we were told would never like us.  we struggled to understand allies who weren’t so much allies.  with deep roots of experience, we led with intention, with the questions of what would be best for this space, what would be best for the artistry on this little island, what would be long-lasting and truly make the making of art – whatever the genre – foremost?

and so, it was in the last days, when it was quiet and empty that we were able to take the time to really listen to the thunder of the silence of that really beautiful space.  we strove to honor the sanctity of this art-making place.  and we intended, with every move of cleaning and straightening and re-arranging and planning and yes, dreaming, all the best things we could.  it did my heart good.

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

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24 hours. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

24 hours

every morning on island i grabbed the phone and, usually still with pjs on, walked outside, to water’s edge, to take a picture.  in this way i have an amazing collection of the moody displays of our little bay-of-lake-michigan during the months we were there.  living right on the water was a gift…it balanced out all the other-ness of our time there…a collection of life and work and its challenges and joys from back at home as well as on our new little island.

we continue to be grateful to deb, who is generously sharing the magic of this sweet littlehouse with us as we live there. many times this summer and early fall we would get a text message from her house around the cove, pointing out the moonrise or the glittering of sun on the lake…gentle reminders of what was really important.

as fall rolls into winter i will miss sharing that bay and hog island with d and with deb-just-around-the-bend.  i will miss the lake as it greets the day and lingers at day’s end.  i will miss the sound of gentle waves and deeply unsettled surf.

i know that each tide brought with it new hurdles, new hiccups, new pitfalls.  provocation is alive and well.  but each tide also brought with it new triumphs, new delights, new joys, new learnings.  inspiration is alive and well.

24 hours of breathing, living, seeing.  looking outward 180 degrees.  perfection.

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

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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

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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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