First, Enjoy [on Merely A Thought Monday]

first dandelion copy

This is the season of firsts. The first glimpse of new shoots of green poking their heads out of crusty soil. The first robin. The first morning we are awakened by the woodpecker bending its beak on our neighbors old metal aerial antenna. Walking the muddy trails in Bristol Wood, Kerri gasped, jumped, pulling her camera from her pocket. I thought it might be a fox or possum. “What is it?” I whispered.

“It’s the first dandelion!” she exclaimed.

Our neighbors to the east wage a seasonal war on dandelions. Most of the folks in our neighborhood shudder at the sight of the yellow invader. One of our favorite summer rituals is walking around the corner to see if the retired man is standing sentry in his yard, armed with the latest in dandelion weeding tools. Old coffee cans strategically placed on his walkway hold the remains of the brazen few that dared show their yellow faces.

In our house, dandelions are not invaders. They’ve inspired songs. They are little yellow memory bringers. Flowers and food. Ray Bradbury. They are heralds of bare feet, hammock chats, cold wine and water balloon fights.

Each year, we enact a dandelion ritual. I am a fairly new suburbanite so I’m often uncertain of what to do and lapse into momentary paranoia. Standing in the abundance of dandelions that pop up in our yard, I fear that I should be more like my neighbors and declare a war. “Do you think we need to pull these?” I ask Kerri.

“Why?” she responds without looking at me.

“Everyone else is,” I say meekly.

“Now, there’s a good reason to do something!” she mocks me. “You? Conforming. Now, that would be a first!”

 

read Kerri’s blog post about FIRST DANDELION

 

 

yetitumbler website box copy

 

 

Slog And Smile [on Two Artists Tuesday]

ice castle 1 copy

the melting ice castle

It is the mud season. The time of thaw. When snow and ice like magic return to their elemental form and flow according to the rules of least resistance. Downhill. Always.

It is the season that we wear our black boots, the pair that is good for slogging through the mire. On a recent squish through our beloved Bristol Woods we laughed at the sucking sounds our black boots made when we tried to lift our feet from the bog. The water gurgled around us. The sun warmed our faces even though the day was cold. We were glad that we left DogDog home. He’d have been a mucky mess.

It is the in-between time. Not winter. Not spring. This morning there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and still it snowed. The winter took a toll and everyone groused, “I thought we were done with that!” These same growlers only a few short months ago celebrated the return of the white stuff. “It’s the first snow!” they laughed and ran out to touch it. How fickle we are.

Or, perhaps, how ritualistic we are. Persephone must return to the underworld for a season. Demeter grieves and so the cold snows come. Months later, when the daughter returns to the light, the mother, over-joyed, allows the plants to grow again. Life returns. Tell the story any way you want. It is the same. A cycle of life. Equinox. Solstice. A time to sow. A time to reap. The root, rejuvenated, now pushes little green tendrils upward the sun. Rituals and celebrations.

Our ritual? Eager to get outside and walk, Kerri asks, “What boots shall we wear?” I respond, “I don’t know. Do you think it will be muddy?”

 

read Kerri’s blog post about THE ICE FALL

 

icefall website box copy

 

 

 

Chicken Marsala Monday

A Chicken Marsala thought-nugget from the melange to help you start the new week

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Faith is one of THOSE words. So, as is my practice when wading into one of THOSE words, I look it up before writing about it. And, as is always true when writing about one of THOSE words, I find beautiful ambiguity within the proffered definitions.  1) complete trust or confidence, 2) strong belief based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

Complete trust. Spiritual apprehension.

My life has taught me that truth (another one of THOSE words) can only be found within the paradoxes. If you can reduce something to a singularity, a black or white concept, something graspable, then it may be a rule or law but is never a container of truth. THOSE words point to deep experiences, the mysteries that cannot be fully grasped or squeezed into a container. Love is one of THOSE words, too.

We designate the first week of spring by a heavenly marker known as the equinox. Equal night. We look to the sky to understand the happenings on this earth. I’m happy to report that my first sighting of tiny green shoots breaking through the crusty earth in my backyard happened this week. The first sign of spring. The resurgence of green life after months of root-resting hibernation.

I couldn’t help myself. For kicks I also looked up the definition of the word apprehension. It smacked to me of being yet another one of THOSE words. Yep. 1) anxiety or fear, 2) understanding, grasp. Anxiety. Understanding.

Standing before a blank canvas I often feel as Chicken Marsala. I tie on the blindfold and step. Sometimes I step boldly with complete trust. Sometimes I step timidly with great apprehension. It is a full spectrum of faith. And, because I can never know (another one of THOSE words) the best I can do is practice.

cool FAITH TAKE PRACTICE merchandise [wall art, gift cards, tote bags….]

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faith takes practice FRAMED ART PRINT copy

faith takes practice LEGGINGS copy

‘faith takes practice’ leggings

faith chicken iphone case copy

faith takes practice SQ PILLOW copy

 

read Kerri’s thoughts on FAITH TAKES PRACTICE

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kerrianddavid.com

sometimes faith takes a little practice ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Return To Life

Tripper-dog-dog-dog listens to birds

Tripper-dog-dog-dog listens to birds

I’m writing this from the choir loft. It’s gorgeous outside and I wonder what I’m doing inside on such a beautiful morning. Kerri is playing the organ for an early morning service. I’ve decided – just this moment – that the organ is an instrument for the dark days of winter. It is heavy and fills your belly like good hearty stew. Birdsong is the music of spring.

Before coming here this morning I was hanging out in the back yard with Tripper-dog-dog-dog. We were watching birds. We were listening to their worship service. He is mystified by them. They are a relatively recent discovery for him. He cocks his head sideways as he stares at them as if to say, “What the heck!” Then he looks to me to see if I’m having the same revelation. I say, “Pretty incredible, huh!” He nods in agreement (no exaggeration. really. no really).

My conversation with the stained glass window continues. The three panels of the window are, of course, the nativity on the left, the crucifixion on the right, and the resurrection in the center panel. It is the largest image. The focal point. The return to life is the center and perhaps this is the meta-point of my window conversation. Many years ago in a class on ritual and life cycles, the instructor said that each one of us would die and be reborn 12 times in the course of our lives. These mini deaths and rebirths were preparation for the main event. Energy does not die, it changes form.

The window is a perfect cycle of the seasons. Throughout the winter the window and I have been talking about the return to life. We’ve talked about birth and rebirth. We’ve talked about pilgrimages. Every life is a pilgrimage. There are long stretches of walking, rich with discovery, sometimes with achy legs and exhaustion. There are days of rest. There are arrivals and departures. Sometimes the weather is fair and sometimes not. The bad weather days make better stories; protagonists need obstacles to move things forward. Flow rarely requires lengthy recounting. Sunrise and sunset are, of course, our daily birth and death cycle, a solar pilgrimage!

Birth and rebirth is the mirror image of death and resurrection and, of course, this is the season of things coming back to life. Both are progressions, movement through the cycle of life. This cycle, punctuated by my first Wisconsin winter, is especially pronounced for me. Three weeks ago we were knee deep in snow. I can see and feel the return of life, the warmth of the sun’s return.

One year ago I was wandering, in the exhaustion phase of my pilgrimage, dropping the old knapsack; it was too heavy to carry any longer. I enacted and presided over one of my mini deaths. This morning I breathed in the cool air and watched the worship of birds. Nests are being built and I am enjoying the sweetness of life’s return.

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

Or, go here for hard copies.

Hold A Vigil For Kermit

My studio moves into the light.

My studio moves into the light.

Life returns slowly. It is the time of year that the goddess Demeter ceases grieving because her daughter, Persephone, is allowed to return from the underworld. Demeter’s joy ignites earth’s renewal.

This morning we sat outside on the back porch, wrapped in a blanket, our chairs facing the sun, our backs to the wall so we could feel the radiant heat. We drank coffee, soaked up the sun and talked about everything and nothing at all.

We are feeling the stirring. We moved the studio from the basement into the light. A stalled project now has life and is arcing toward production. Inspiration and enthusiasm are playing chase through our creative sessions. A few days ago I found my sketchbook and spend time each day filling its pages. There are new canvases sitting on my easel.

It is the season of resurrection. We are holding vigil for our pond frog, Kermit. Although his name is common his story is extraordinary. Last summer, after we dug the pond in the backyard, Kermit suddenly appeared. All through the fall we checked on him. He looked out at us from his hiding place in the rocks or if caught him by surprise, he’d dart to the opposite side of the pond. This winter was harsh and the pond froze solid. We worried about his fate. When the pond melted, we found a seemingly lifeless Kermit on the bottom with the leaves.

Many species of frogs hibernate. In fact, we learned that certain wood frogs freeze solid to the core. When winter comes their bodies replace the water in their vital organs with a protective “anti-freeze.” All signs of life cease. The heart stops (it is frozen). All measurable electric impulses close down. When the weather warms, their core thaws, and they quite literally come back to life. If you’ve ever doubted the magic and mystery of this life, spend some time watching frogs.

We don’t know yet if Kermit is hibernating or not so we watch. A layer of ice returns to the pond each night. The temperatures are bobbing just above and way below freezing, so we wait, drink in the sun and good coffee. We watch Tripper-dog-dog-dog discover birds and bark at raindrops on the pond; this is his first-ever spring. We fill with hope and ourselves slowly revive from a long winter of hunkering down. We stretch our limbs, we thaw, we breathe.

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

Or, go here for hard copies.

 

Welcome Her

from my children's book, Lucy & The Waterfox

from my children’s book, Lucy & The Waterfox

The spring brought with it the birth of Annie Evelyn Domig. Her proud papa, poet, philosopher, and world-class actor, Chris Domig and zen warrior wife, Janelle, made me cry with the announcement of their daughter’s birth (both for the beauty of their words but also the sheer celebration of walking this life with people I love). Here’s a snippet:

Now I see that peace between nations will
only come to us as child, (then as now)
the weight of time witnessing her first cry,
(unsure where to turn, but willing to learn)
intuiting her way towards a mother’s heart,
followed by sleep reconciliatory and kind.

The sound of her name, forty long weeks,
tuned words to song, tossing variations
on a theme to each other, playing by ear,
(not forgetting the Austrian Aussprache).

The book says Annie means Prayer,
and Evelyn is one who brings Life
together she mends our broken circle.

Each day of life, a new hope. Each day lived as a prayer. Every child should enter this long walk with such a blessing (I suspect that they do but it is rarely voiced so beautifully).

Judy (she-whom-I-revere) gave me an image. It was meant for me but I see and feel it all around me. She wrote that I was like a bulb buried in the earth, gathering energy, ready to break from my confines and stretch my new growth, cracking through the earth’s crust and reaching toward the sun. Isn’t that a great image of birth (or rebirth)!

Yesterday, as I lived my greatest experience of vulnerability to date, I thought about Annie and the circle breaking and mending, breaking and mending; this life is both sturdy and fragile. Every rich life has an equal share of both breaking and mending. We are not meant to be static. Life is dynamic and vital and vitality requires breaking through to reach for the sun. How lovely that this year the return, the mending, the new green shoots pressing against the thawing earth, is signaled on the day of equinox (equal night) by the welcome arrival of dear Annie.

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

Go here for hard copies

Follow Your Feet

744. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

The sun was out today. I took a break midafternoon, bought a coffee, found a sunny spot, and sat in it. I closed my eyes and sat facing the warmth, soaking it in. I was not alone. Periodically I opened my eyes and spied other sun sitters in their own special light pools. When I first moved to Seattle I made fun of sun sitters. I did not understand the people pouring out of the towers to find a warm wall or sunspot to occupy. Now I am one of them. I couldn’t get enough. There is not enough sun to slake my sun-thirst.

Earlier this morning as I walked down the hill, the sun was not yet up though the clouds were soft orange against a purple sky; the birds sang a spring song and I stopped to listen. They knew the sun was coming out to play. They knew the sun had one foot in spring and they needed to sing the other foot out of the winter circle. They sang with all of their might and invoked a gorgeous day. The sun finally committed: both feet are now firmly planted in the renewal.

After my date in the sunspot I walked, intending to go back to the studio but found my feet had no intention of leaving the sun. I told my feet that I had things to do, that I must be productive but they would have none of it. They pulled me to the sunny side of the street and followed every street I’d not yet trod. That seemed to be the criteria: 1) sun, and 2) unknown. As I gave in to the will of my rogue feet I decided that their criteria made much more sense than mine. Or, perhaps their criterion was a better match for my mine. I was certainly productive: I learned many new streets and my vitamin D quota escalated. I achieved a lot, too! My stress levels dropped significantly. I did not know they were up until they dropped. I cleared my mind as only a walk into the unknown can do. I talked to a woman preparing a neighborhood garden. I found a second sunspot and occupied it for an ample amount of time. Perhaps the birds invoked a bit of both-feet-in spring from me as well. As it turns out, my feet are very smart and the birds are very persuasive!