Learn How To Use It [on KS Friday]

The young man came to our house to bid on a job. He is days away from becoming a new dad. We talked about becoming a parent, his hopes, dreams, and his fears. He and his wife have decided to homeschool their son; the very real possibility of his child being shot in a classroom was a major factor in their decision.

Having spent much of my life working in and with public schools, it broke my heart. Kerri and I acknowledged that, were we new parents, we’d probably make the same choice. “Every man/woman for him/her self” is winning the day over “I am my brother/sister’s keeper.”

Who hasn’t seen the video of a mother teaching her son what to do in the event of an active shooter at school? She purchased a bullet-proof backpack to help keep her child safe. Who hasn’t heard the description of what the bullet from an assault rifle does to the body of a child?

About the budding new democracy called The United States of America, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.” He also wrote, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” And so it is.

As I’ve previously written, as a child in school, our safety drills were about atom bombs. Outside threats. This generation, this young artisan, about to become a new dad, knows his son will have to drill against an internal threat. A country that refuses to protect its children and opts, instead, to protect its gun lobby, its money.

“Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville.

Freedom is an art form. A practice. It’s an ideal that a community practices and creates together. No one does it alone. And, therein, lies our problem. Every man/woman for him/herself is not freedom. It is chaos. Anarchy. It has our children ducking under desks and carrying bulletproof backpacks. Or, avoiding school altogether.

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

read Kerri’s blogpost about LIGHT IN THE DARK

transience/right now © 2010 kerri sherwood

Be Grand! [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Little pot roasts are popping up everywhere! Adorable bundles of baby smell and killer smiles. In our pal-group, the babies are having babies. And it’s transforming us into something a little more grand.

Not having had children of my own (I am the proud papa of my two given-children), I’ve spent my life as the weird uncle. I taught my toddler niece to say, “I want another margarita!” and my sister was not pleased. I’ve never successfully changed a diaper but I’ve had riotous fun with many crawling creatives, banging pots and breaking crayons. Uncles, like grandparents, are there to break the rules.

Of this I am certain: Kerri dreams of heaping love and presents on her future grand-pot-roasts; I can’t wait to finger paint and then meet after the mess at the Cheerio bar. Green fingers and snacks! A sure sign that life is grand.

read Kerri’s blogpost on SNACK TIME!

[happy mother’s day!]

smack-dab. © 2021-2 kerrianddavid.com

Travel Here [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

One of the cruelties of multiple daily zoom meetings is that, in addition to seeing other faces, you also stare at your own. “OMG!” I think to myself (of course- who else would I think to), “I look old!” The picture that I see on the screen does not match the picture in my mind. In my mind, I am much younger. “Some old guy stole my voice!” I shout to myself.

Here’s a strange bit of phraseology: I did not know our kids when they were kids. I came into their lives when they were already adults so I don’t have the memories of footie pajamas, bath time or back yard swing sets. During a recent visit with Craig, I realized that Kerri measures her time on earth relative to her children. She’s constantly reconciling the adult son/daughter sitting across the table with the infant son/daughter that she remembers like it was yesterday. “Where did the time go?” she asks, looking at her hands.

We’re all adults now. Well, even staring into the eyes of that dude who stole my voice, I’m cautious about claiming adulthood. I feel as if I stepped into a time machine that thrust me forward in time. I remember myself in footie pajamas as if it was yesterday. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that it’s in the last few laps that you understand the race is all in your mind and the real juice of life is in enjoying a body that can run. Or feel. Or sense. Or love. Or dance. Or hold the hand of the one you adore.

The advice I’d give to our children is the same advice I’d give to myself (and I’d do it, too, if that rat-bastard hadn’t stolen my voice!), “There’s no hurry. This race is not run on a line. It’s a circle. You’re not really getting anywhere more important than where you already are.” It’s a time machine to now.

read Kerri’s blog post about TIME MACHINES

smack-dab. © 2021-2 kerrianddavid.com

Share The Sketchbook [on Two Artists Tuesday]

Bruce came through town with his son Ben. Ben is a budding Renaissance man, an artist and philosopher. A quiet deep thinker. We marveled at the drawings in his sketchbook. Faces and hands. Figures in motion. A bold sense of color. I remember the terror of sharing my sketchbook and was moved by how eager and easily Ben shared his. A sketchbook, like a diary, is vulnerable, a place to work out ideas, make mistakes, record pain and joy and confusion. We were touched that he was so generous in opening his diary to us.

Big changes are coming Kirsten’s way. Kerri and I laughed at her news, at the ease and enthusiasm she brings to her step off the edge of the known. “I suppose it’s easier to make big changes,” Kerri said, “when you have the bulk of your life still ahead of of you.” I suppose. Or, perhaps, after so many big changes, you come to realize that the real transformations are not in location moves or new jobs. They happen on the inside and don’t seem to be changes at all. More, it’s layers falling off. Discovery of what was there all along.

Bruce and I have known each other for a very long time and have not seen each other in a very long time. Sitting on the deck, a humid hot day, we sipped cold wine and talked about the people we once were. We talked about some of the layers that have fallen off. We laughed at our foibles. There were too many stories to pack into a single visit. There were too many questions to ask and notes to share. I hope we will have more time to sit and share our life-sketchbooks.

Each morning, opening the house, I enjoy the small fountain in our sunroom. The water runs. As a Buddhist would say, “You can never step into the same river twice.” Our fountain reminds me that time runs. Each day is a new sketch. That is true especially if I think I know what will happen that day. I am always surprised by day’s end. Life takes some surprising turns. Some big. Most less noticeable. And, time runs.

I watched Bruce’s face as Ben showed us his drawings. A proud father. Ben looked to his dad, still anchored to some degree in his dad, just as it should be. I remember looking to my dad in just that way. This trip across the country, father and son, will be a good story for them. It is already. It will be told many years from now. A son rolls his eyes. A dad laughs. An old friend and his new wife delight in being part of the day’s sketch.

There is no higher art.

read Kerri’s blog post about THE FOUNTAIN

Imagine The Dinosaur [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

I was 52 years old when I finally had children and, luckily for me AND for them, they were both adults. As I told Kerri, I was fortunate to become a parent when our children were already fully cooked. Just kidding. Or not.

We often speculate about what life might have been like had we met when we were younger. Once, on a road trip, we were making ourselves laugh hysterically with the names we would have given to the poor beings that might have had us as parents. We landed on Chicken Marsala and almost crashed the car. We pretended Chicken was in the back seat. He was voicing his concerns at our driving, snack choices, and need to stop so often [Kerri likes brochures…].

Having artists for parents left Chicken feeling a bit anxious. We found it somehow comforting to finally have a responsible adult present in the car with us.

read Kerri’s thoughts on this Saturday Morning Smack-Dab.

smack-dab. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com

Slow Down And See [on Two Artists Tuesday]

kindnessSCHITTSCREEK copy

There is a theme emerging in my posts this week. Substance vs. the appearance of substance. The flattening of importance.

During an exceptionally stressful and contentious period this summer, we streamed the entire run of Parenthood. Six seasons of escapism!  “Let’s go to  California,” we’d say, all too ready for a leap out of reality. And then, in a moment of horror, the episodes of Parenthood ran out. Our escape hatch closed with a bang. In desperation we surfed and landed in Schitt’s Creek. It was a series a bit too relevant to our circumstance and we howled when one of the characters, in the face of kindness, said that she’d been raised to see that “kindness is a sign of weakness.”

“That’s our problem,” Kerri said, “we see kindness as a virtue.” She was raised to be kind.

That night we had a long discussion about kindness and its general absence in public discourse.

I’ve been thinking much about our conversation since we found ourselves meditating on kindness in Schitt’s Creek. This is my observation: mean is easy. It is fast. Like all forms of reactivity and thoughtlessness, meanness and contention are elementary.

We are surrounded by friends who are kind.  They are kind because they cultivate kindness, thoughts of others, as essential to their character. That’s why we are attracted to them. We are the recipients of unbearable gifts of kindness through our friends. They break us open. They make us bigger.

Kindness is a virtue. It is also a strength. And, it takes time. Kindness is like poetry. It takes development and some higher order thinking.

Lions eat zebras for food. People hurt people for a lesser reason.

In a world obsessed with speed, it is all too easy to run past substance in pursuit of the superficial. Slowing down, taking some time to see, exposes all manner of beauty.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about KINDNESS

 

heart in island sand website box copy

 

 

 

Enjoy Your Dance [on KS Friday]

sweet ballet songbox copy

Standing on the deck, looking out over the water at the setting sun, he said, “Why is it that you have to grow old before you realize that life passes too quickly? You’d think that would be important to know when you were young.”

These days we’re hanging out with lots of parents whose children have grown up and flown the coop. Kerri is one of those parents. The conversation always includes a variation of this phrase: it went by so fast.

A little girl in a ballet class. Not just any little girl. Yours. Learning how to lean into her dream and bumping into a funny adult words: practice. Repetition.

This ballet is indeed sweet. And, as I’m learning, the dance is over in the blink of an eye.

 

SWEET BALLET on the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART is available on iTunes & CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post on SWEET BALLET

 

slow dance party cropped website box copy

 

sweet ballet/released from the heart ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

Watch Their Steps [on KS Friday]

BABYSTEPS songbox copy

In preparation for writing these posts I always begin by first listening to the piece that Kerri has selected for the melange. This piece, BABY STEPS, made me all mixed up inside; quietly happy and unbearably sad. Although I did not have children of my own, I’ve had plenty of pals who have. It has been and continues to be a great gift to me when they share their joy in all of the baby steps.

I am also of an age where many of my pals, like me, have aging parents. There is a return to baby steps on the other side of life that, although natural, although a part of the process of living, are impossibly sorrowful. My dad’s struggles, his return to taking small tenuous steps, break my heart on a daily basis.

I believe it is the gift of an artist to help us make sense of the untenable as well as the miraculous. My wife, Kerri, has an enormous gift. Listen to her BABY STEPS. It will transport you, like it does me, through the fields of joy and sorrow, to the heart-full side of life.

 

BABY STEPS on the album RIGHT NOW is available on iTunes & CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post about BABY STEPS

 

cropped head kiss website copy

 

baby steps/right now ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

Will Her Safe Passage [on DR Thursday]

MotherDaughter morsel copy

a morsel: motherdaughter

Lately I am learning about parenthood. Actually, to be more specific, I am learning about the power of motherhood. Even though her children have flown the nest and are living vibrant lives a thousand miles in either direction, Kerri senses their movements. She feels their triumphs and their pains as if they were her own. We have a game: mention Kirsten’s name in casual conversation and she will almost certainly text or call within minutes. It is uncanny. The daughter and the mother are deeply connected.

This winter, Kirsten taught snowboarding lessons in Telluride and coached a team in Aspen. It required a four and a half hour drive on Friday night to Aspen and a Sunday night return trip to Telluride. Friday and Sunday evenings, Kerri tracked Kirsten’s travel path. Snowy roads. Ice. Avalanches. The mother’s eye casting a cloak of protection over the daughter, willing her safe passage. Holding her in a mother’s sheltering embrace.

Anyone who doubts the power of sympathetic magic has never been a parent, a mother willing the universe to keep her girl safe.

 

 

read Kerri’s blog post about MOTHERDAUGHTER

 

drc website header copy

 

arches shadows k&d website box copy

 

motherdaughter ©️ 2019 david robinson

Give Them Dandelions [on KS Thursday]

a mother’s day gift from studio melange on ks friday.

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FFOD product box THIS BAR copy

Some things need no interpretation and this song, going into Mother’s Day, is one of those. So, from studio melange, a gift-song from a mom, Kerri, to mothers everywhere.

FISTFUL OF DANDELIONS available on iTunes and CDBaby

FISTFUL OF DANDELION gifts and cool products

ffod square pillow copy

read kerri’s blog post about FISTFUL OF DANDELIONS

www.kerrianddavid.com

fistful of dandelions ©️ 1999 kerri sherwood

fistful of dandelion designs and products ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson