Walk As WaWo [on Two Artists Tuesday]

It was past 3am when Kerri asked me if I wanted to “watch a trail.” We were wide awake. The air was hot and still. We’d recently stumbled upon The Wander Women: Kristy, Annette, and Lynn, woman our age, walking the PCT. They’re doing a flip flop, having started their hike in the middle of the 2600 mile trail and walking to Canada, then, they’ll return to the center point and walk the distance to Mexico. We watched the installment, posted this week, as they reached the Canadian border.

Still wide awake, we went to their channel and listened as they answered questions about their hike of the Appalachian Trail. They are sirens of the possible, guides of give-it-a-try. They are not hikers who pound out miles to reach a goal. As Kristy said, “We want to enjoy every single moment.” Their yoga is a matter-of-fact-presence. They plan and improvise; both/and.

We’ve listened to more than one Q&A with the Wander Women. In an answer to their follower’s questions about living full time in an RV and life on the trail, Annette responded, “Home is where we put up our tent. You carry home inside yourself.” It was the answer of someone who’d transcended their stuff. It was the response of someone who’d internalized her security.

We couldn’t plug our windows with air conditioners this summer. We had too much of isolation last year. We needed to hear the birdsong and feel the summer air. We knew that would bring uncomfortable days, humid and hot nights. We have always walked our neighborhood and the local trails, but our decision to feel-the-summer pulled us more out-of-doors than usual. We extended the sanctuary of our sunroom out onto the deck. We placed torches along the patio and fixed the lights around the pond.

Each evening, after our work is done, we sit outside in our ever-expanding sanctuary. We listen to the cicadas. The cardinals and the chipmunks vie for a place at the bird feeder. Sitting at our table I had a mini-revelation about why I was so enjoying The Wander Women and following the few couples also out on the trail and posting weekly updates. They talk about the community of support that they find in the trail. It is often unexpected and yet ubiquitous. Both/and. They offer a staunch counter narrative to the horror we hear in the news, the contention and division. There are people dedicated to helping them and they, in turn, are dedicated to helping others. “You can do this!” they say to anyone listening. “We’ll help you do this,” their followers echo back to them. They broadcast friendship, kindness and support.

It is a breath of fresh air, a sparkling optimism for the best in humanity. It rises on the trail. Generosity that cultivates generosity. Hope that is grounded in the experience of the unprotected, the heat and cold and bugs and rain and challenge of being-what-they-are-doing. Shared experience. Sanctuary. Here. Everywhere.

read Kerri’s blog post about SANCTUARY

Enjoy The Return [on Merely A Thought Monday]

It’s back. Pop Goes The Weasel, in an incessant cycle, playing as background accompaniment to the birdsong. The truck circles the neighborhood, the sonic equivalent of water torture on wheels. I’ve spent too many hours pondering how the driver, the seller of ice cream, sitting in the epicenter of the looping Pop refrain, retains their sanity. I couldn’t do it. It’s low on my list of aspirations. I’m certain my assignment in hell will be the ice cream truck driver.

Of course, the musical assault is accompanied by – no, much more, it inspires – the delighted squeals of children, excited-to-a-frenzy when hearing the tune, begging coins from their parents, and running to the truck to get their treat before it disappears around the corner. The happy squeals bring instant forgiveness to my hardened heart for the Weasel drumming of my brain.

It’s the solstice. The ice cream truck, like the position of the sun in the sky, is a sure sign of summer’s return. On a walk by the lakefront a few days ago, the truck bellowed passed us, looking a bit worn and tired. It stopped. The neighborhood kids scrambled, parents’ pockets were emptied, purses turned upside down, skinny legs and clenched fists raced toward the paint-peeling truck.

Forgive my brain but I was suddenly overwhelmed and duly impressed at the chain of innovation that, although it now appears old and ordinary, went into making this dilapidated truck and the joy it invokes possible. Refrigeration. Pasteurization. The waffle cone. Ice cream on a stick. Recorded sound. Speakers. Not to mention the internal combustion engine.

As the kids swarmed the Weasel, I looked around at all the older faces, those folks with newly emptied pockets, watching their kids and grandkids enjoy the ritual that they once enjoyed when they were the young enthusiastic pick pockets. Every face was smiling. Even mine. Add that to the chain of innovation. It might be the most important of all the innovations in the chain. Bringer of joy. Inciter of happy memory. It certainly should be the point, the aim of all invention. Better life. No one needs to read a business book when an ice cream truck is circling the neighborhood. It’s all right there.

Bird song. Children’s squeals of delight. Pop Goes The Weasel. Hot days. Melting ice cream. Summer.

read Kerri’s blog post about GOOD HUMOR

Will It To Happen [on Two Artists Tuesday]

bcat summer with frame copy

This is the first face, the first thing I see each morning when I open my eyes. BabyCat, aka Sumo aka ONEBIGCAT aka Scrawny Cat. Let’s just say that he is a substantial kitty. And willful when hungry. The morning ritual goes like this (my eyes are closed): he mews up a storm with no result (eyes are still closed). He pulls books from shelves and then claws the back of the already-destroyed-chair (eyes still closed). He shreds the previous night’s crossword puzzle and any other loose paper on the floor. No movement from the human. The final stage is a cat-leap onto the bed (BabyCat landing on the bed feels like riding a rolling ocean wave in a small dinghy). And then he stares at me like some 19th century hypnotist, willing my eyes to open. No matter how long it takes. None of the ruckus produces results but the silent stare is a killer. It’s unnerving. It makes me open my eyes.

This morning the thunder and rain are at it again. The air is thick, sticky and humid. Wisconsin has gone tropical and, apparently, now has a monsoon season. When my eyes popped open this morning there was something extra in BabyCat’s stare. More than food, he wanted to know where summer had gone. Was it here at all or was is merely a B-Cat dream? A passing fancy?

Blinking my eyes, the best that I could offer was this: “I don’t know, BabyCat. I dreamed it was summer, too.” And then we finished the morning ritual with our customary promenade to the food bowl.

 

if you'd like to see TWO ARTISTS copy(the BabyCat coasters kill me! the travel mug is downright unnerving!)

read Kerri’s blog post about WHERETHEHECKDIDSUMMERGO?

 

 

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wheretheheckdidsummergo ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Step Off The Treadmill [on DR Thursday]

sunrise, sunset copy

The county fair is over. Kids are heading back to school. Parents are taking their all-grown-up children to college. The rituals of summer’s end are all around us.

I was delighted when Kerri chose this morsel for this week’s melange. It comes with good memories. I painted A DAY AT THE BEACH after an afternoon at the beach last year. We were in Plymouth. The day was waning. We wandered. We played word games in the sand (I lost miserably, Kerri gloated loudly), watched children squeal and play in the surf, felt the heat of the day cool as the sun dropped below the horizon, the breeze that comes with sunset. There was no place we needed to be. There was no place we’d rather be.

Isn’t that the gift of summer? An intentional pause. Giving yourself the gift of stepping off the treadmill, forgetting about the list of things-to-do? Sun and the space to play.

Master Miller has been sharing with us photos of his summer fun with his young son, Dawson. A day of surprises at the art museum. Coloring together, surrounded by crayons. Adventures for the sake of adventure. Art making for the sake of art making. Laughter in the discovery, the pure joy of shared experience.

All of this goodness comes to you in one little morsel.  Kerri calls it Sunrise/Sunset.

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ADayAtTheBeach copy 3

A Day At The Beach, mixed media, 38 x 52IN

read Kerri’s blog post about SUNRISE/SUNSET

 

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sunrise-sunset/a day at the beach ©️ 2018/2017 david robinson & kerri sherwood