reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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#pow. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

“winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” (paul theroux)

ten inches already. that’s what the weather app says. another several on the way. it’s stunning out. snow-magic everywhere.

my phone camera log has many, many photographs of snow. a lot of these are from my daughter, a professional snowboard coach and instructor and an avid and passionate snow-girl in the high mountains of colorado. every one of them makes me yearn to be there…in the snow-covered fallow of winter, the time of energy storing up underground ready to burst forth in spring and bring new life, a new day.

yet climate change barrels forward, knocking down the door. “we have arrived at a moment of decision. our home – earth – is in grave danger. what is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, of course, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings.” (al gore)

global warming threatens. the last five years were the hottest on record and CO2 levels are historic. the trends are dangerous. the weather is extreme. the long-term effects of decisions we make now will change the trajectory of what is possible and impossible for our children, their children, the children of their children. we, each of us, need be responsible.

“protect our winters POW was started in 2007 by pro snowboarder jeremy jones, who witnessed first-hand the impact of climate change on our mountains. POW’s mission is to engage and mobilize passionate outdoor people to educate others about the growing problem of climate change and its negative effects on the environment, to protect the places and lifestyles they love. POW is a community of athletes, scientists, creatives, and business leaders advancing non-partisan policies that protect our world today and for future generations.” (protectourwinters.org)

2021. i cannot imagine – in recent years – a time when recovery and preparation were more vitally necessary, more heartbreakingly essential and when potential disaster was more imminent. we face down the raging pandemic, politicial chaos, heartless social injustices, vitriol echoing from one coast of star-spangled-banner-land to the other, wild and extreme weather events, bitter fallout from any and all of these.

the fallow of this winter need be rich with nutrients to conquer the acerbic byproducts of this time. the snow will help, i hope. yes, the fallow. this long, long winter. maybe snowmelt in the spring will reveal a wash of positive movement, rejuvenation, renewal.

“i don’t want your hope. i don’t want you to be hopeful. i want you to panic and act as if the house was on fire.” (greta thunberg)

it is our earth – graciously granted to us for a time. it is our absolute obligation – imperative for the future, any future – to act. like it matters.

“perhaps the rewards of solving climate change are so compelling, so nurturing and so natural a piece of the human soul that we can’t help but do it.” (auden schendler)

“the eyes of all future generations are on you…” (greta thunberg)

yes, greta. and what will each of us choose to do?

eleven inches now. we celebrate each flake.

*****

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

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what will it take? [d.r. thursday]

i wonder what it will take. our country – divided beyond belief – is suffering exhaustive blows. and i wonder what it will take. the dividing line – somehow as distinct as the difference between black/white and technicolor – continues to chasm us apart further and further. truth is obscured behind narrative of falsehoods and the bandwagons are lining up with flags and hats and arsenal. and i wonder what it will take.

i heard this recently: “standing up to power may lead to significant loss.” yes. standing up to power-administered-improperly does yield to significant loss. standing up to leadership-without-scruples does yield significant loss. standing up to authority that does not accept accountability does yield significant loss. standing up to holding our democracy intact is yielding significant loss.

as we watch, our country is reeling. in an attempt to protect the capitol and all it stands for, preparations are being made. yet, the nagging feeling in our collective gut signals that it may not be enough. we have been pummeled – each of us. we are exhausted – each of us. we are beyond worried – each of us. what will it take?

we quietly sit and ponder what will happen next. how will this resolve? what prayer do we have?

the excuse of many colors need be removed. the way forward is black and white. unity, as virtuous as that sounds, is the only option. or this country will be destroyed. autocracy will rule with a fascist-fist and accountability will fly in the face of unchecked authority. violence and extremism will prevail as acceptable methods of disagreement. and we will all sit in the ruins of this democratic experiment, in the depths of significant loss, and wonder what it would have taken.

in lieu of conversation, in lieu of any attempt at conflict resolution, in lieu of the vast potential of working together in community, in lieu of responsibility-taking, people are choosing sides and actions and, without heed to any kind of narrative fact-checking, diligent due process or any kind of resolute, unwavering commitment to mutuality, they are acting out of self-serving agenda laden with toxic aggression, sheer destruction and hatred leading the way.

is it worth it?

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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©️ 2019 david robinson


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chaos. [flawed wednesday]

1000 pieces. we finished it in two days. two blustering cold, freezing rain, pallid grey days. we moved the tiny pine tree forest to the end of the dining room table and turned on all the twinkling lights. we had snacks early and glasses of wine later in the day. we’d leave the table and then return to it. there is something deeply satisfying about piecing together the outer edges of a puzzle and then, slowly but surely, gaining on the whole image, tiny sections of the picture emerging.

if only life were quite that easy.

the puzzle of our lives is in pieces. though i suspect we can pull the ones with straight edges and fashion them together into a frame of sorts, it is the rest of it that will prove challenging. we are upended. there is no picture on the front of the box to follow. it is disarray. chaos.

a friend recently chided me on my distraught emotions. “you were plucked out of a snake pit,” he texted. although i mightily disagreed at the time, i am beginning to see the wisdom of his words. people are not what they seem, sometimes, and communities can easily become poisoned by the actions of a very few. i don’t know when i will rest easily again. every night i am awake, reviewing, wondering, trying to figure it all out with little to no information. i am appalled time and again by ruthlessness. our friend may be right. it’s beginning to look more and more like a snake pit. and his words of reassurance and encouragement may be spot on. but it is chaos for us right now.

this week is pivotal in our country and in our own town. between a president psychologically and constitutionally off the charts, congressional leadership following along nose-tail-nose-tail in his feverish and fraudulent election-fraud wake, a senate run-off of significant proportion, a deadly pandemic spiraling out of control, our country, its democracy, and its constituents’ health are in peril. it is chaos in this country.

in our own town, they are erecting concrete barricades, blocking roads, re-attaching window boards, putting a potential curfew in place. the boy-with-the-big-automatic-gun who blithely killed two people on the street a few streets away is being arraigned. the district attorney is announcing his decision on whether or not to criminally charge the officer who shot a young black man seven times in the back in the line of duty earlier this summer. there will be unrest. there will likely be violence. it will be chaos in this town. again.

we have a couple other puzzles in the closet ready to be tackled. i’m thinking it is entirely possible that we will clear the table of this one we completed, stashing the pieces in a ziplock bag inside the box with the picture on the cover. we might choose another. empty the pieces onto the table, turning the cardboard pieces over to see the colors on the other side, placing the box-with-the-picture so we can work from it. in the moments we feel the most chaos we may walk over to the table, pick up a piece or two and, because we have a post-chaos-pieces-in-the-box picture, begin to sort and put it together. it will feel like a little bit of accomplishment in the middle of real chaos.

if only life were quite that easy.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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“not the same.” [merely-a-thought monday]

the dog hides in the bathroom when there is even the hint of a disagreement, an argument, any kind of underlying tension he senses in his sweet and highly intuitive body. he slowly rises from the old wood floor in the living room or the tiled floor of the sunroom or sprawled on top of the raft and tiptoes down the hall to lie down out of the fray, even if it’s a quiet fray. he can feel it – the tension – and it makes him feel angst.

this year. angst. how can any of us be without angst this year? it seems that things in the universe have spiraled out of control, things are afire and we drop-roll in anxiety. we succumb, in pain, to the extreme pressures this year has presented and sometimes we direct it at each other. ptsd is alive and well and will likely prevail past december 31, rolling its tentacles into the new year.

“things will not be the same because we will not be the same,” 20 texted us, having stumbled across this quote. he captured, in his passing on of these words with no attribution, the truth of it. things will not be the same. and neither will we. we will not be the same. and neither will things.

so i guess the question is this – how do we all rise from the ashes of this year? how do we “live above the circumstances” as jonathan texted? how do we drag our tired bodies and minds and hearts into 2021 and have hope?

though, decades ago, i was granted a master’s degree in counseling and i try to incorporate the methods of communication i learned, i still fail miserably in the middle of spatting with d. i try to resist my and his laundry list of what-happened-last-times or i-remember-you-saids or i-remember-you-dids. it is to no avail. somehow we end up tiffing not-so-much only about now, but instead, about all the back-thens up to now. i don’t think we’re alone in this. and i suspect that this year has burdened us all with so much stress and insulated time together that it is inevitable. there has been so much; confusion and anger and grief and sadness wash over us all. we are all exhausted. we are forever changed.

but i hope we can also take away from this year that we survived it. broken wrists, pandemic fears, covid-lost jobs, a city stricken by violent social injustice, a country in chaos, chasms of relationship differences, isolation, suffering a firing, losing a community. we will not be the same. things will not be the same.

and yet, we are here…on the doorstep of 2021…in the tiny liminal space between the holidays, rapidly approaching the new year. the bootstraps call our names and, again, we bend, like rugged, ragged reeds in the wind, and tug them up. we try, once again, to remember that we have somehow gotten through 363 days – already. we are changed. things are changed. i heard myself saying to a dear friend, “yes. you are made of every single thing up to this very minute. but now you are here and your next step is in now, not in then, not in all that.” i need remember. we need be in now. in spite of and because of. looking forward, stepping forward. ever slowly, but doggedly forward. tripper would celebrate this phoenix-choice.

two wise women offer these words:

“the life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” (anna quindlen)

“tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” (mary oliver)

alike. and different.

things will not be the same, yes, because we will not be the same.

maybe that’s ok.

*****

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


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flourless chocolate cake. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

there are days when it’s necessary. last saturday was one of them. we drove out to the bakery in lake geneva specifically for one thing: flourless chocolate cake. we bought two pieces and drove home with them nestled in their little box, excited about the prospect of having such a treat two days in a row. (we share desserts, so this purchase was not merely one day’s worth.) in the middle of everything, a little flourless chocolate cake will go a long way.

there are a few things that fall under this category these days: a few vices, a few salves. strong hot coffee in the morning in mugs that remind us of favorite places, long hikes, glasses of wine, happy lights, texts or pictures or calls from my children, big pots of pasta sauce, being snugged by the dog and the cat. every so often, flourless chocolate cake makes the cut. because it is not inexpensive, these days it is a rarity. but last saturday we decided we could skip a meal if it was necessary in order to share some decadence.

soon it will be the solstice. the sun will seemingly stand still and the light of day will start to shift. we will, slowly but surely, start to welcome more light.

as this world, this country, our communities start to embrace the administering of a new vaccine to aid in the deterrent of the pandemic, we begin to see the beacon of light. it is farther off on the horizon, but it is rising.

as this country, our communities start to embrace the changing of this nation’s leadership, we begin to see the possibility of sanity returning to the chaos. we begin to see the promise of light. it is farther off on the horizon, but it is rising.

as our communities agree to distance and be safe, to work together in common goal, we begin to hope for a return of responsibility, of accountability, of respect, of kindness. we study the horizon, watching for light. it is farther off on the horizon, but we’re sure it must be rising.

as we stand and straighten up our 2020 bodies, aching but holding steadfast on our journeys, we begin to look for the paths of the future, paths of symbiosis, paths of goodness. we peer in the dark, catching glimpses of light, like fireflies in a summer backyard. it is farther off on the horizon, but the light is rising.

and we know this because flourless chocolate cake makes it so.

*****

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


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collective exhaustion. [d.r. thursday]

utterly exhausted.

we literally get to 4:30 in the afternoon, when the light of standard time is waning and the day is catching up, and we are both utterly exhausted.

we sat on the boulder overlooking the river and bowed our heads down, brows furrowed, squeezing our eyes closed as we listed the reasons why we might be tired. we decided it is collective exhaustion. we simply do not know anyone who is not beyond tired right now.

the last week offered many chances to be outside: warm sun, soft breezes, a rare november last-licks-of-second-summer. every walk helped. every minute in the adirondack chairs helped. every task checked off the never-ending chore list helped. but there was still this weariness, pervasive, inevitable.

in the middle of a raging pandemic, with the stress of keeping oneself and others healthy, with the worry of financial strain, with the chaos of the election, with the political climate and matters of social justice, with work challenges, with isolation away from loved ones and friends, with grief over our individual physical issues – where is the restoration, the rejuvenation?

and so, we tuck in. we lay our head in the crook of our arms and we sigh. we know we are not alone. everywhere, necks are bent low in sheer collapse.

collectively, we all slow down our rapidly-beating hearts and our nervous pulses. collectively, we consciously take a deeper breath. collectively, we will rise back up, unfolding our bodies from fatigue. collectively, we will carry on.

but for right now we are utterly exhausted.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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COLLECTIVE EXHAUSTION © david robinson


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save the gumballs. [flawed wednesday]

i never won when the county fair contest involved guessing the number of gumballs in the jar. it’s just hard to wrap your head around just how many gumballs fit in a jar – so many more than you think possible.

at the beginning it was twisted entertainment to watch the CNN gumball jar fill up. the cnn anchor would add another gumball to the jar each time the president lied. and then, when it was full, he would add another jar. and another. and another. and now? i’m not sure how many jars and gumballs it would take to truly represent the sheer number of times this president has lied to us, the populace aka his employers. it is not entertaining. it is not funny. it is outright pitiful, many gumballs past pathetic.

to realize that this period right now, the final approach to the election, is one of “the president’s most dishonest” spans of time is absolute lunacy. what is this country thinking? why, on this good earth, is it perfectly partisanly ok for the leader of the free world to constantly lie? he is a pathological liar and his egocentric comrades are both passively and actively complicit in their acceptance of his disorder, of forwarding his vast cauldron of mistruths, of his failures, of his vileness, of pushing his self-serving agenda, of aggrandizing his behavior.

this country will never win any contest guessing the number of presidential-lie-gumballs in the jar. instead, it will sink deeper into division, deeper into inequity and prejudice, deeper into an abyssmal lack of compassion, deeper into suppression, deeper into dark despair, deeper into the lies. this country will reside inside the pathological sickness in this president’s head.

please vote him out and save the gumballs.

read DAVID’S thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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“easy way down” and the way back up. [merely-a-thought monday]

in the middle of going down, down, down, i wondered about going up. it was a steep descent down the mountain service road and seemed interminable, winding around and around, but big red was up top and the return back up was inevitable. not only did it seem possibly insurmountable, it was laughable because it became clear to us that siri had directed us improperly to the start of the trail we wanted to hike. so there we were, trekking down a gravel service road with amazing views and a really big uphill back to look for our desired trail. “you have arrived,” siri announced. we stared into the forest looking for a trailhead, a trail, leaves crunched down that resembled a path…and saw nothing. it may have been an easy way down but it would be torturous going back up.

we have descended into the hell of a divided country. nearly 224,000 people have died – in this nation alone – of a pandemic that has swept the world and yet the president of this country continues to drag us down further, encouraging rallies sans masks or social distancing, insisting that this raging pandemic is “rounding the turn”. rounding the turn to where, we ask. it can only be a deeper cave of hades. his rhetoric, his falsehoods, his dismissive behavior of anything that might actually be of value to save-lives-right-now, have dragged us down to a devastating abyss.

it was easy going down. going back up, clawing our way to the surface of sanity and truth and virtue, will be harrowing. the crevasses are deep, the sides of the chasm walls strewn with piercing fallacies that must be sorted out. the rescuers are magnanimous, saving all the populace despite their flailing arms and dangerous tales. how much lower can we go?

and the truly sad part is that the pandemic is just one arm of the waterboarding, the suffocating performed by this administration. with bigotry and systemic and systematic racism, with decimated healthcare and a constant bow to the wealthy, with so much evidence of hatred and lies, inequality and political chaos, the current leadership has undermined the foundation of a country built on a celebration of the melting pot. the easy way down.

it is time to rise up and start walking. it is time to stare audacity in its face and vote it out. it is time to gather all strength and, with panting breath, make our way back up. to a horizon of light and love, to healing for this country and its citizens, every last one of them.

the way back up is not easy. but it’s achievable.

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


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grrreat??? [merely-a-thought monday]

when tony the tiger said it, it was true. “they’re grrreat!” he growled. and yes, frosted flakes ARE grrreat. that sugary coating, that crunch, perfect with milk or almond milk. yum. he was not steering us wrong.

we were behind a pick-up on the way to the grocery store. the open bed had two huge flags, both of which said that which you might be able to guess. it was embarrassing even to be behind this truck.

“keep america great” the can’t-be-creative approach to the incumbent’s election makes me (and tony) stop in our tracks.

keep america great? for what, exactly, is great about america right now?

is it the political chaos, the mind-numbing cruelty of an incumbent president with no compassion, no moral compass, no honesty, no real concern for the populace?

is it the way that this nation has failed to appropriately respond to the global pandemic that is careening about our country, striking down families, afflicting old and young, decimating households, killing people? a wanton disregard of science, medicine, safety in the name of what? freedom? freedom of exactly what? is it the obvious choice of the leadership and its complicit minions to be unjustifiably and blatantly uncaring? the freedom to not care about the populace?

is it the social injustice and inequality that has been a part of the fabric of this nation since, well, forever? is it the racial tension, unrest, deeply rooted and devastating to the core of this crumbling democracy? is it the inability of this country to guarantee the provision of indistinguishably equivalent educational, career, earning potential, medical, banking, mortgage, legal, policing and judicial protections and opportunities?

is it the reprehensible wish to return this country to the ignorant, destructive ways of decades earlier, extinguishing the rights and equality of women, of LGBTQ, of any race that isn’t conservative-pearly-white?

is it the lack of affordable and equitable healthcare for all the people in this country? far be it from the united states to embrace the idea that all of its citizens – regardless of their place on the economic ladder – should have affordable and uniform healthcare as a basic right. instead, is it bankrupting its people when they seek care that this country is after?

is it the exclusivity of the wealthy, their insatiable hunger for more money, more money, the inability for the country’s peoples to rest easy at night, worried about their finances, their futures? is it the fact that the stock market is held in higher regard than the food line, that less in this country is never more, that it matters not who suffers, what little person or small business, as long as the corporations are benefiting? is it the disparity, the immovable wedge between wealth and not, the chasm of economic despair in which families all over this country are flailing?

is it the propensity of violence that is wracking these united states? is it the gun laws that allow regular folks to brandish weapons of mass destruction in the street? is it the killing and maiming of children in schools, movie-goers in theatres, concertgoers at venues, shopkeepers asking patrons to wear masks?

is it the extreme nationalism that seems to be seeping into the pockets of many citizens, diluting their compassion, stoking their fury, wrapping itself around their roll of dollar bills they hold closest to their hearts?

is it the way this country’s current leadership and legislature are failing to recognize that we – the – people are the very ones destroying this earth we share with 200 other countries’ residents? is it the way this country is shunning all the goodness that has been done around climate change, all the stopgaps that have been in place, all the earth-communal gathering-together of the most brilliant minds in an effort to heal the damage we have already done, slow the continued harm, avoid future desecration?

is it the palpable rage? the mind-blowing lack of empathetic, nonetheless sympathetic brotherhood/sisterhood of all? the nonsensical lies and warping of truth and justice, values tossed to the wayside? the ignoring of work that must be done?

keep america great? this “perfect union” securing the “general welfare” of all and reaffirming “domestic tranquility” and the “blessings of liberty”?

tony looks up from his bowl of frosted flakes, lays down his spoon and mutters with his mouth full, “keep??? america??? grrreat???”

“not so much,” he scoffs.

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


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epic. [two artists tuesday]

this is epic. epic is hiding. his sweet luminous green face peeks out from beneath a rock, the rest of his body hidden. he is earnest. he is cautious. he is aware. he studies his world – our pond. he jumps quickly away from anything he perceives as danger. bugs are his priority.

we are like epic.

in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of political chaos, in the middle of social unrest, in the middle of economic crisis, in the middle of a nation-centric-to-hell-with-the-rest-of-the-world leadership, we peek out, hoping, as we wake the next day and the next day and the next, for less impossible news, for more hope, for sanity to emerge out of the rubble.

and then we open up the news app.

we slowly sip coffee from under our rock and peer out at a country we struggle to recognize. we are astounded by the dysfunction; we are deeply saddened by the plummeting values. we cringe at a society rapidly going backwards, downhill with ever-increasing speed and no brakes, obliterating all the progress made for decades as it barrels through, clip-engaged, single-mindedly paying no mind to real goodness.

smack-dab in the middle of our little rock on this world we can feel the danger lurking. we are earnest. we are cautious. we are aware. we study our world. our jumping-away mechanisms are at the ready. bugs are not our priority.

we are like epic. we are not like epic.

we can speak up. each of us has a voice; each of us can address the issues of this time. each of us has a vote.

and in that way, bugs, indeed insidious diseased bacillus in the system of this country, actually are our priority.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY