Whirl The Dervish [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

I’m sure I’ve previously written that Kerri does nothing in straight lines. Dogga runs circles and I tell him he comes by it naturally. He’s just like his momma.

The first time I watched Kerri vacuum I felt as if I was watching and episode of I Love Lucy. She whirled the Shark in a rapid circle, a mad-cleaning-ballet, and was soon tangled in the cord, looped to a chair, and tied to the machine. The knot of Kerri, vacuum and wicker chair teetered and tumbled to the floor. “Do you need some help?” I asked.

These days, when the vacuum comes out, Dogga runs to the backdoor. He wants nothing to do with what is about to happen. I’m driving. I believe in straight lines.

We’ve agreed that it’s my job to use the cleaning appliances with cords. Her natural dervish isn’t dangerous when she’s not plugged into the wall. A Swiffer is safe. A broom. But, like any untethered tornado, it’s probably best to stay out of her way.

read Kerri’s blogpost on this saturday morning smack-dab.

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Join [on KS Friday]

“I wouldn’t mind turning into a vermillion goldfish.” ~ Henri Matisse

To say we were out of place would be an understatement. Two crows in a seagull bar. The Fat Seagull, to be exact. Two artists step into the watering hole of a lumberjack town. The beginning of a joke.

There was a table of ladies playing a rowdy card game. Big guys leaning into the bar, a row of suspenders and worn baseball caps. Bottles of Miller beer. They wrinkled their brows when they caught sight of us. We sat at the only open table. A high bar table pushed into the walkway. Two stools. We knew we were outliers when we ordered wine. The waiter returned a few minutes later having found an unopened bottle. He explained that the only two wine glasses in the bar were broken. We sipped our wine from tiny cups.

We drove two hours north to see a special show. The last performance of a duo. This bar would be their punctuation point. They began to play and slowly the magic happened. Together, people leaned in to listen. Bodies swiveled and danced on stools. Hands clapped at the end of each number. The musicians wove a spell that brought everyone together. Two crows were no longer aliens but integral to the shared experience.

Our waiter refilled our tiny glasses and stayed to chat. He invited us to come back and try the burgers. We smiled and talked to those sitting nearby. Without inhibition, Kerri took photographs of the crowd, the musicians, the coolers, and the ceiling.

The punchline? The power of art. The magic of music. The easy recognition of common center. It is no less potent in a dive bar than in a stadium or auditorium or gallery. The place is incidental when the performance is pure.

read Kerri’s blogpost about THE FAT SEAGULL

Kerri’s albums are available on iTunes & streaming on Pandora

take flight/this part of the journey © 1998 kerri sherwood

Peel Open [on DR Thursday]

The pods peel open at just the right moment. The fine fluff catches the wind and carries the seed. Nature’s dispersal system. Hope on a sail. The destination is determined by the direction and strength of the wind, not the intention of the seed.

In the United States of America, today is a day of thanks giving. Families gather. Traditional recipes prepared. A pause in the fast moving river for a moment of gratitude. Stories shared; recipes, smells and tastes like seeds are planted in the next generation.

Sitting at a card table with cousins, the adults packed around the kitchen table. Cranberry in a dish, shaped like a can. Blue blue Colorado sky. The crisp air dancing with the sun’s warmth. Coffee. Pumpkin pie. My memories rise from my senses.

Last Thanksgiving, Covid kept us isolated. Our families are far away. Despite our best plans, we will, once again, give our thanks together yet alone. We will walk a trail. We will love on the Dogga. We will make a special meal and tell stories of gratitude. Rob came through for a visit. Dwight called. Mark remains a rock. We heard from Kate. There is no lack of love or laughter in our house.

This pod will peel open at just the right moment. We are burgeoning with hope. In the meantime, we prepare our fine fluff, knowing full well that, despite our best intention, our destination will be determined by the direction and strength of the wind.

read Kerri’s blogpost about THE SEED

Tango With Me, 39x52IN, mixed media

tango with me © 2018 david robinson

Cross The County Line [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

Drive west from our house near the lake for a few miles and you’ll come to the interstate freeway that runs north to Milwaukee and south to Chicago. Cross under the freeway, continuing west and you enter what we call “the county.” Rich farmland. The freeway serves as a dividing line from urban to rural.

Sometimes it feels like crossing the line into another culture. Blue to red. The county redness puzzles me but that’s a topic for another post. We drive into the foreign culture with the same curiosity we might bring to Tunisia or India. “I wonder what they see…” is a common refrain.

Sometimes crossing the freeway line feels like an escape into open space and a breath of fresh air. Once upon a time we took Sunday drives; the point was to go get lost in the county. “Left or right?” Kerri would ask. Both choices leading to the unknown.

We are avid freeway avoiders. It doesn’t bother us to take extra time traveling to Chicago or Milwaukee on the backroads. Less aggression. We relax and enjoy the ride. Often, especially during rush hour, our backroads travel proves faster than the traffic jam.

Last week, en route to the hand specialist in Milwaukee, we traveled our usual backroad path, winding through the county. There was no snow at our house when we left. We crossed the freeway into another landscape, blanketed with white. It was as if we crossed the line into another season. We entered an alternate reality.

“That’s so odd,” I said.

“No,” Kerri replied. “That’s the county.”

read Kerri’s blogpost about THE COUNTY

Cope! [on Two Artists Tuesday]

Let’s just call it a coping mechanism. Job loss came fast and furious. The news came on the coldest, greyest week of the year. Hollywood could not have provided a better scene. Job loss. Freezing rain.

Escapism, for us, often looks like a long drive and on our long drive we had a sudden hankering for french fries. Escapism provides an open invitation for all the foods you normally avoid. The rules of escapism also allow for over-indulgence. At the Culver’s drive-thru, we didn’t order the human-sized fries. We ordered the family pack. They had to use a forklift to bring the fries to our car. And, we ate them. Almost all of them.

The rules of over-indulgence require deniability. We left ten fries in the tray so we might in good faith tell the food police that we didn’t eat the whole thing. We didn’t over-indulge! We didn’t eat the whole truckload of fries! Who would do such a thing! Not us, certainly.

I’m giggling a bit since our topic yesterday was choice. In the way of all perfect hypocrisy I claim the choice of deniability. I’m following the rules. We ate them, maybe, but we had to do it, if we ate them – and I’m not saying that we did though they might have been good – but I can’t remember. There may or may not have been a food coma.

Good heavens! French fries have made me a politician! I’ve always wondered why on earth anyone would become a politician…

Politics. A new career, perhaps? Not a chance. I want to escape my escapism, not make it a way of life. Though, from here, there may or may not be a few more fries needed to get to the other side. I’ll keep you posted. However, I can say with certainty that, in the short term, you can’t believe a word I write.

Now, who wants to go for a drive?

read Kerri’s blogpost about FRIES

See Your Choices [on Merely A Thought Monday]

He began with silence. He looked them all over, one fox at a time, and his eyes looked deep into theirs. Lucy wanted to hide when his eyes came to her but instead she fell into his gaze. He seemed to be listening. Then, he made up his mind, and in a voice that was both powerful and quiet, he said, “Words are strong magic, misused they are tragic, but handled with care they bring insight and good cheer. So listen, dear friends, listen with care.” ~ Lucy & The Waterfox

“Choice” is a very powerful word. Perhaps one of the most powerful.

Lucy was a story I told many years ago at a conference of healthcare workers. Actually, it wasn’t the primary story; it was an addition. The organizers asked if I had a second story in my bag o’ tricks and I’d just written Lucy.

After the conference I illustrated and self-published it. It was the early days of self-publishing so the layout is wonky. I’ve never really liked how the book looks. I’d turn Kerri loose on it if we were bored and didn’t have other things to do. We’re not bored.

Lucy makes two choices in the story. The first is to hide her special talent. To conform. The second is to own her special talent. To take flight.

She achieves both choices through the intervention of others. The first choice was made with the help of social pressure; who doesn’t want to belong, to fit in! To conform. This choice nearly kills her. The second is made with the help of a storyteller, a role model. Who doesn’t want to fulfill their passion! Follow their bliss? This choice fills her with life.

I’d write a sequel but it’s already imbedded in the first book. What happens to Lucy when she chooses the left hand path? She becomes, as all artists do, the carrier of the story, the mythologist and mythology of the pack.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice. To hide your fire. Bend to pressure. To burn brightly. Follow an inner imperative. Yet they are choices, both.

“Lucy was a red fox who lived as other red foxes do, playing in the fields and forests. But Lucy had a secret. She could fly. Not a run-and-jump-to-this-rock kind of fly. No! She could fly like a bird…”

read Kerri’s blogpost about CHOICE

Lucy & The Waterfox © 2004 david robinson

Rest In It [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Each morning, after breakfast, Dogga retreats to the kitchen and sprawls near his bowl. It is the rendezvous spot, the place where he and BabyCat met each morning to snuggle and snooze. Every day, Dogga returns faithfully to their meeting spot. He doesn’t snooze. He waits.

BabyCat has been gone for over a year and a half. In our old house, at night, when a floor board upstairs creaks or thumps, I still think, “There’s that BabyCat!”

BabyCat was a BIG cat so there was lots of him to love. Like Dogga at the rendezvous spot, we know that big love never goes away. It’s always there – he’s always there – even if we can’t see him. We feel the love. It feels so good to find the right spot in the house, rest in it, and drink in that big warm wave of BabyCat love.

read Kerri’s blogpsot on this saturday morning smack-dab.

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Refill [on KS Friday]

I confess to being a bit blue. Blue. That’s a metaphor for low-in-spirit.

And, isn’t it odd that we locate our spirits as either high or low? Where, exactly, is your spirit? Today, mine is low. Apparently, I think spirits are spatial.

That means my spirit is either laying down, taking a nap, dancing the limbo, or that its flame is minimal. My spirit isn’t burning much fuel. Don’t try and read a book by the light of my spirit! Not today, anyway.

Last night we had dinner with 20. After he left I told Kerri that I was grateful because he “lifted our spirits.” Spirits are impressionable. 20’s spirit breathed some air into my balloon. Balloon. That’s another metaphor. Expansive-spirit. Receptive of the light-hearts brought by others. Apparently, I think spirits are fickle, malleable. Or connected.

The sunset stopped us in our tracks. We knew the ranger would be waiting in the parking lot. Tapping his foot. He can’t go home until the parking lot is clear and people are supposed to be leaving at sunset. He previously threatened a citation. A citation is not a deterrent when a sunset is filling your spirit. I hoped the ranger was standing outside of his truck (and his role) and, like us drinking it in. Refilling.

Apparently I think spirits can be refilled. Refilled. That’s a metaphor. What’s the full capacity of my spirit?

Kerri’s albums are available on iTunes & streaming on Pandora

read Kerri’s blogpost about SUNSET

in transition/released from the heart © 1995 kerri sherwood

Rake The Ritual [on DR Thursday]

It is that time. The ritual of the green bags. They are green because they are biodegradable, an important detail in the ritual cycle.

The rite unfolds over the course of several weeks. Each household in our tree-lined neighborhood, according to their own special timing announced to them by the trees, shuffles into the fallen leaves with implements of collection or whirring blowing machines. They sculpt the leaves into piles. They scoop the leaves into green bags. They pile the green bags at the curb.

Some prefer to place the bags in a perfect curbside line. Some prefer to stack the bags. Later, an orange truck (our ceremony is punctuated with secondary colors!) rumbles slowly down the street, acolytes jump from the truck and collect the bags.

The communal bags are taken by the orange trucks to a community field where they are stacked high into transformational mounds. Over the winter, over time, the mounds slowly reconstitute. They compost. The green bags dissolve. The contents of the bags compact, heat, and join, becoming vibrant rich soil.

Energy changing form.

There is a matching ritual in the spring. The people, according to their own special timing announced to them by their flower beds, leave their houses and bring shovels to the mounds of soil. They collect buckets and truckloads of the former-leaves-now-earth, return home and dig the new soil into their gardens. The planting marks the beginning of the next cycle. As shovels turn earth, the trees bud, new leaves, future soil, pop green and tender on the branches.

A perfect life cycle. A time honored autumnal observance. The ritual of the green bags.

read Kerri’s blogpost about GREEN BAGS

Meditation, 48x48IN, mixed media

meditation © 2012 david robinson

Face The Sun [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

Brilliant yellow leaves are raining down in our backyard. The pond is disappearing beneath the blanket and although the little fountain has been knocked off center, it refuses to relinquish its duty. November. The temperatures are dropping like a stone.

We were awake deep into the night. We’d given up on sleep. We’d already indulged in a snack and were about to watch a PCT hiking video when we heard the owl. Our neighbor, John, told us it was back but we hadn’t yet heard it. At first, we thought we imagined the quiet who-whoo. Kerri opened the window. Cold air and clear hoots poured in. An old friend returned. We wanted to jump up and dance and clap but refrained. Sometimes quiet revelry is best.

We came around the bend in the trail we’ve come to know so well. The shady parts were cold and the sunny bits felt divine. Warmth to the bone, the kind you drink in through your face and the palms of your hands. Emerging from a shady bend we turned toward the sun when the dandelion caught us off guard. Seasonal confusion? Or, perhaps, dandy-outlier? How on earth was this splash of summer-yellow shining in the late autumn chill?

Kerri knelt to capture the intrepid weed. I thought about her Fistful of Dandelions, a song to warm a mother’s heart. This rebellious single flower was, like me, turning its full face to the sun. A kindred spirit. A weed to warm my hiker’s heart. A spirit-lift in a time of too much darkness.

I’m given to metaphor so decided this hopeful weed with deep, deep roots, was, like the owl, sending me a message. An old friend returned. Offering encouragement. Chin up. Face to the sun. Anything is possible. Optimism need not flee with the onset of cold.

read Kerri’s blogpost about the DANDELION