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no timely manner. [d.r. thursday]

now i understand. at least, i am beginning to understand.

my sweet momma and poppo would linger…watching birds, gazing at flowers, studying the horizon – be it shorefront or mountainside, cityscape or tiny town or rural farmland, slowly taking it in. in the hurry-hurry of my younger years, i would scurry past, noticing but maybe not really.

i am moving slower now. not because i can’t scurry, but because i am choosing to list to the linger side. though we still watch re-runs after re-runs of joey hiking and climbing and backpacking and pitching tents any and everywhere, imagining ourselves in those canyonlands keeping up, imagining ourselves on the pct or the john muir or the colorado trail, i know that our pace would not match the pace of joey or the exuberant younguns on heading somewhere or walking with purpose or the meticulous norwegian xplorer. we would be slower, lingering, lingering. i’m not sure that would get us from point a to point b successfully or in a timely manner, but i’m thinking that our definition of ‘timely manner’ may have to just be different. because now – in the middle of this grand middle age – is different.

for now i want to watch the birds and gaze at flowers up-close. i want to stop and stare, drop to sit on a nearby log and take it in. i want to notice the intricasies of all of it, the undertones, the overtones.

as i look at the close-up of this milkweed trailside i am struck by the layers of detail. it somehow makes me recall decisions between the major chord and the relative minor, a continuum of impact. it makes me think of melodic gestures, a spectrum of color and of grace. a horsehair brush extended from the heights of the universe, painting perfection in the woods. artists’ hands waving paint on canvas, cupping clay on a wheel, flying over the white and black on a piano, coaxing lines that make you weep from a cello. all the same. creation in all its iterations.

on the call pat told me that the music – my music – had harmonics, tuned with the universe, that made her travel. humbling.

for i see that is what my momma and poppo were doing. traveling. they allowed the beauty around them to touch them, to slow them down, convincing them – in all the infinite glory that beauty -and art- can muster – that ‘a timely manner’ was relative, that time was relative. that time spent in a slow linger was precious.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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aging-ageing. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

rejuvenate. anti-aging formula. anti-aging rejuvenating serum. skin repair and firming cream. anti-aging rice phytoceramides plant-derived capsules. advanced natural anti-ageing cream complex. crepey skin repair and firming cream. anti-aging supplement and multi-vitamin for energy, skin, bone and joint support. anti-aging organic flax seed oil and phytonutrient formula. multi-collagen capsules with hyaluronic acid and vitamin c. awakening hydraskin system. ageless cell life extension. anti-aging beauty spray vacuum. age-defying face lifting concentrate. night total facial rejuvenation system.

“achieve visibly younger skin.” “who wants to look their age?” “visible results in minutes of use.” “recommended for discerning patients.” “join me in the battle against ageing.”

i am wayyy wayyy behind the curve. the pink oil of olay hydrating lotion in my small cosmetic drawer in the bathroom has been around for sixty years. hmm, i should have written that sentence in a structurally different way. the little plastic bottle has not physically been in my drawer for sixty years; the product has been produced for sixty years. sheesh. other than a few pass-me-down gifted clinique products from my sister, this has been my moisturizer of choice. simple. done. i have not researched this nor have i had long conversations with girlfriends about moisturizer. joann has absolutely lovely skin. her face glows. one day i asked her what she used and, delightedly, she told me oil of olay. yippee! samesies. so, that means if i keep using oil of olay my face will glow? hardly.

the jowls i woke up with one day that my sweet dad and gravity so generously passed on, the wrinkles around my eyes, the sweet-momma crease in my forehead – these are genetics. webmd.com says that the intrinsic aging of skin cannot be avoided. and the time: time spent outside as a child, spud and kickball in the neighborhood, swimming in our round above-ground pool, teenage time spent on bike hikes and on crab meadow beach laying on a bazooka gum beach towel playing my radio, trips to florida beaches with woven bags holding tanning oil and iced tea and potato chips, motherhood time on backyard swings, at lakefront beaches, on soccer fields, at baseball diamonds, earlier-middle-age un-thinking time on adirondack chairs basking in the sun – though perhaps innocently skin-irresponsible, cannot be erased.

aging. ageing.

my dad received national geographic magazine for as long as i can remember. paging through were articles and photographs through which i was introduced to cultures i was likely to never actually visit but from which i could gain small bits of wisdom.

though i mostly understand the medical importance of taking good care of our skin and using spf products and staying out of torrid sun and hydrating and eating proper nutrients, i could see that the women and men of these other cultures – outside of our society – did not concern themselves with aging-ageing. indeed, they were not in a battle or a race against it. instead, they upheld it, celebrated it, honored it. and while i would probably prefer less jowls and less wrinkles and less crepe and less of the other stuff with horrendous names that advertisers have come up with for natural aging processes -god-forbid- i will choose to stand in it and feel fortunate to be here.

fortunate to be aging-ageing. winning the race either way.

****

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


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the waxing moon. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

“the beauty of the earth is a constant play of light and dark, visible and invisible.” (beauty – john o’donohue)

i prefer to think of it as waxing, not waning. growing in illumination, not heading toward darkness. the moon on our ceiling just above the crown molding shows up from time to time. the conditions need be right, the lighting need be perfect. and then it’s there, waiting to be noticed. i ran for my camera the first time i noticed it, afraid the shadow-and-light interplay would quickly disappear.

like everything else around us – waiting to be noticed – we are always in choice about noticing or not. we can take the time or not. we can nuance our time to scurry past or we can slow down, just a little, to see.

i recently saw an article about spain, a country that embraces the siesta, a time of rest within the day. there is consideration there to move to a four-day work week in an effort to balance work and life. it is hard to imagine that there is much more important than paying attention to that balance. what else is living? why are we rushing through it?

i really love to take photographs. our hikes in the woods and walks in the ‘hood and time-just-being-time are punctuated with my stopping-stopping-stopping to grab a photo here or there. some things are just blatantly beautiful, visible and full of light. they need not beg to be captured on film. others are not so obvious. they are not so visible, darker, perhaps even invisible, courting imagination. on the trail they disappear silently behind the woods-models, the fashionable haute couture of the forest. instead, they are quiet and steadfast. they have a certain je ne sais quoi that cannot be easily named. and they are indeed beautiful.

on the trail, the tiniest pink petals rising from the decayed leaves, the green-and-green variegated leaves tucked behind the flowering shrub, the fallen tree – home to symbiotic white rot fungi – in and amongst the stately, the healthy. the thistles, dried and browned wildflowers, inosculated trees sharing soil, underbrush, like understudies, taking their usual back seat to the crowns of the woodland.

in our daily routine, the way the spring rain forms a heart-puddle on the patio, the way the snow piles on the wrought-iron table, the way rays through the miniblinds shadow the wall, the way barney ages in the backyard, the way wine glasses clinking catch the light, the way the quilt gathers the morning sun, and the way the light in the living room gifts us a waxing moon.

the balance of the obviously beautiful with the less-obviously, less-definitively beautiful.

we take a bit of time as we can – we slow down just a little as we are able – to make sure that we notice the play of light and dark, visible and invisible.

we look around us, through waxing and waning, standing in the light and the dark. to make sure we notice all the beauty of the earth.

*****

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


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“the pace of nature.” [merely-a-thought monday]

“…adopt the pace of Nature. Her secret is patience.” (ralph waldo emerson)

no matter how hard we try, there is not one thing we can do to make the sun appear or the day warmer or the moon to rise or the snow to fall. we accept that time will come, time will pass, time will form and time will destroy. we give over to nature, anticipating that which we know, expecting the unexpected. we baby-step through this very time in the universe, our footprints barely visible on the timeline that is forever. we learn that no matter our stride, we are simply tiny beings. eventually, we learn, after giving over to patience, that that is enough.

the john denver sanctuary in aspen is a treasure trove. we have been there three times now. a garden of trails and large river boulders etched with lyrics and quotes, perennial daisies and aspen trees, it is a gentle sinking into peaceful. the city sounds of aspen fall away and the river and streams are lulling.

we wandered for hours, reading, sitting, pondering, the sun on our faces, the sound of quaking leaves slowing us down. i stood on a giant rock, like a stage under my feet, and bowed deeply to no one and to the brilliance of a man who knew how to tenderly shape melody and weave lyric into a fabric like a soft blanket.

we were immersed in poetry, in words, delicious to read aloud. we were quietly taking it all in, i in all my john-denver-glory, reliving the cassettes i wore out, rewinding, rewinding, listening again and again. this exquisite place, tempting all-day-hooky-playing, wielding a magic defined by thought, encouraging reflection, softly begging you to tumble in your own thoughts. this place slowing you down, reminding you that it is not stuff that defines you, it is not the stuff-of-you that will remain with others.

we wrestle with timing, with suspense, with expectation and disappointment. we measure against ladders of success and hold ourselves to higher higher higher standards of accomplishment.

nature quietly treks on, luminescent and glorious, patiently acknowledging every babystep moment of its impact, surrendering judgement and secretly, from the heart of the universe, signing its autograph on all of us, whispering to us to slow our pace.

*****

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


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slow down. [two artists tuesday]

curvy road

you have to slow down.  as you drive in door county toward the ferry dock on the southern side of death’s door, the road begins to curve.  it is imperative to slow down.  after you arrive at the dock, as you wait for the ferry, IF you have a signal, you google the route, wondering.  you find:

“Jens Jensen was a vehement believer in the power of nature to enrich the lives of men and women. His parks are famous for their water features, rock gardens, and meandering paths meant to mimic and incorporate nature rather than shape it.”

it is said that this scandinavian man (a landscape architect) designed this road to do just that:  enrich people’s lives by nature.  slow them down.  i give a lot of credit to a person who chose to do what was likely an unpopular decision in a society that wants to get as-quickly-as-possible from point a to point b.  slowing people down takes some guts.  (have you ever driven the speed limit in the fast lane?)

i tend to go slower than d.  we are both project-driven and completion-oriented.  but once he is on a mission, he is relatively unstoppable.  he likens it to being OCD (i’m not sure i’d entirely agree) but his focus is intense and he, like many, is not as tangential or multi-tasking-ish as i am.  he doesn’t circle around or circle back like i do.  it makes me wonder if circling is perceived as intense as straight-line-aheading, but i digress.

each time we have driven the road to the ferry that takes us to our little island i have thought about stopping and taking a picture of it.  many people are parked on the side of the road, pausing to do just that, trying to wait until all the cars are gone and there aren’t other people standing in the middle of the road photographing the ideal photograph.  i have joked about how they should maybe buy a postcard, but then, it’s not their personal moment and i really understand that.

the other day, because this route has grown on me and because it is really beautiful, i thought again about stopping to take a picture, to remember…all the times we have driven this way.  i drove past the curvy part and then, because there was this nagging debate in my brain, said, “would you mind if we went back so i could get a picture?”  of course, d’s answer was, “no, turn around!  we’re in no hurry!”  so i did.  i circled back.  i stood in the road and waited until there were no other cars or other people standing in the middle of the lane.  i could smell the colors of the fall leaves, could feel the briskness of air and the smile of the sun, knew the ferry to the island was at the other end of the curves.

the idea of decelerating people to appreciate nature and moments in it speaks to me.  the idea of incorporating nature rather than shaping it speaks to me.  believing in the power of nature speaks to me. i vote with jens – slow down.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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welcome sign. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

welcome flag .PNG

the first time we went to the tiny farmer’s market on island we ran into a few people we had just met.  new friends, they stopped to chat for a time and tom said, “the whole island is a welcome sign.”  that seems to be true.  a welcome sign.

yesterday we heard about people standing in line in the little grocery store.  the clerk and the customer checking out were having a chat.  no one in line interrupted.  no one shuffled their groceries.  no one shifted from one leg to the other, impatiently sighing loudly.  they just waited.  and then, when it was their turn, they had their own chat with the clerk.  the grocery store is a welcome sign.

we were walking down the road arm in arm, a few miles from home, and an old light blue pickup truck pulled up next to us.  a sweet old man leaned out and said, “you two lovebirds want a ride?”  we laughed and said that we were out for a stroll.  motioning to the bed of the truck, he told us he had plenty of room but added, “it looks like you are doing just fine.”  we chatted a minute more and he pulled away.  a welcome sign.

we were obliviously riding our bikes on the road, looking for deer in the woods.  talking quietly and laughing at my attempts at no-handed riding (which, by the way, came back after a try or two), i suddenly realized there was a car behind us.  i motioned quickly to d to pull over in front of me and get out of the car’s way.  as it passed, i called into the rolled-down window “sorry!”  the driver called back, “no worries!  enjoy your ride!”  no horn beeping, no revving of engine, no grumpy voice, no gesturing.  just a “no worries!”  a welcome sign.

it’s a sweet thing, this welcome.

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

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slow. slow. [two artists tuesday]

deer in woods copy.PNG

slow. slow.  when we drove home the other day, we realized how very slowly we were moving here on island.  the comparison began the instant we were on the mainland.  we hadn’t driven over 40mph for a couple weeks; suddenly we could feel the push, the frenzy to get somewhere, fast, faster.  it’s pervasive, that frenetic energy, and the closer we got to milwaukee, the more we could feel it.  our heartbeats raced as cars darted in and out of lanes, as horns beeped and drivers gestured impatiently.  no one noticed each other.  they just drove, destination their only intention.

slow. slow.  we walked home the other night.  after porch-sitting and having a short meeting, we ambled down the middle of the road.  no one was coming; no one passed us.  the interruption in quiet would have alerted us to any oncoming car.  we shared the woods around us with a deer, who was still, watching us for signs if we were going to approach.  our pause on the road and our slow movements convinced the deer to not run, but to stay and just be still.  to watch.  an eagle flew above us.  looking up, there was a moment we recognized that this eagle saw us.   the deer, the eagle, noticed us.  we were in the world together in those moments.  no intention but to breathe the same air.

slow. slow.  we are learning, slowly, about this community.  connecting the dots, discerning the culture, perceiving the nuances.  we are studying this place that is our job – a performing arts center with 250 seats on a tiny island you can only get to by ferry.  a step away-away.  a place in which we want to elevate artistry and growth.  we move slowly, thoughtfully.  our intention, our work, the maturing of this place that has been germinated and cared for.  a rich garden, a rich forest of verdant adolescence, waiting to flourish.  slow.  slow.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the clothesline. plenty of time. [two artists tuesday]

the clothesline

if you are watching hgtv and they are touting the positives of having a washer-dryer combo all-in-one, don’t believe them.  we quickly discovered that the dryer part of the washer-dryer was in name only.  unless you have hours to wait and money to toss for the added electricity, the “dryer” is more like a wringer-outer that removes some of the moisture from your laundry.

and so, on this little island, for this summer, we now have a …. wait for it … clothesline.  after a trip to the mercantile where we bought line and clothespins, d installed it and voila! we have a “dryer”!!!  the breezes off the lake and the sun dry our laundry quickly and dogdog loves to help with the hanging-out and taking-down of clothes on the line.  i feel myself channeling my sweet momma as i shake the clothes taking them out of the basket before hanging, lessening possible wrinkles, and again shake the clothes as i take it them off the line, lessening possible hitchhikers.  it feels like time-ago.  it’s refreshing and pretty heavenly.  there’s plenty of time.  and the laundry dries.

we have found that we needed to slow down a bit here.  we drive slower, for wildlife is everywhere and you must be careful.  we walk slower – in the middle of the road – for there are far fewer cars and no frenzy.  we have fewer errands, for there are not many places to shop.  we see that we will see change slower, for the wheels of progress are big ole tires here, turning slowly as a big tractor down a mottled dirt road.  we wave at everyone we go by, we stop and talk, we laugh about our long tenure here – a whopping fourteen days.  we know we will slowly become a part of this place.  there’s plenty of time.

we were at a new friend’s house high on a bluff in the woods overlooking the lake the other night.  we were telling a story and i said something to our host about not doing nutshells very well; she interrupted my apology and said, “there’s no rush.  tell the whole story.  we have plenty of time.”

you have to plan a little differently with a clothesline.  adjustment is necessary.  a day which dawns rainy and grey will not be a good clothesline day.   and so, you must choose a different day.  for there is plenty of time.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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empty the dishwasher slowly. [merely-a-thought monday]

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we have a dishwasher.  this is a picture of it.  it does not work.  but it takes up space in our old kitchen that would otherwise be blank.  instead, we wash dishes.  by hand.  the old fashioned way.  it’s a good time to gaze out the window and think or have a little conversation as we wash, dry and put away.  in no rush.  i distinctly remember watching my sweet momma and poppo do this when i was growing up.  they would stand and chat (or be quiet) and work together until one day when my dad brought home a portable dishwasher that attached via a hose to the sink.  they would roll the dishwasher out of the laundry room.  it would sit, attached to the faucet, in the middle of the kitchen and you had to maneuver around it to get to the cabinets or across the kitchen.  ahhh.  dishwashers have come so far.  and yes, some haven’t.  like ours.

for the last week we have had the gift of being in an absolutely beautiful place on the ocean.  there are too many superlatives to list about the magic of being there, too many stories to tell.  so many memories to take with us, so many learnings.

and – we had the use of a dishwasher… a real live one that actually works; it washes dishes all by itself and then dries them.  amazing!

one morning, after waiting for the coffee to brew, david brought me coffee in bed and said he had realized something.  during the spell of time he was waiting, after opening up the house to the rising sun, he emptied the dishwasher.  he took each item out and carefully put it away in its place.  slowly.  when he came upstairs he told me that this simple task had actually been quite profound.  and, because it’s what we do, we talked about this observation.

as we take on many new tasks with much to orient to and learn, we have agreed to do just this, to move with this simple mantra:  to empty the dishwasher slowly.  to put each thing gently in its place.  to be mindful and intentional and not overwhelmed.  each glass will get put away, each plate will stack, each utensil will nest.  there is no rush.   there is right now.

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

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summer. [d.r. thursday]

Watercolor-Tree copy

summer is coming.  at least that is what the calendar indicates.  in recent days it has snowed in colorado.  it has been rainy and damp and cold in wisconsin.  the spring storms have been devastating the central states.  but summer is coming.

and with summer comes a little slowing-down, moments to linger in the sun, sit in lawn chairs and chat, sip iced tea on the deck, have picnics under the canopy of a tree.  we pick clover and make necklace chains, count the petals on a daisy, lay in the sweet smell of freshly mowed grass.

wishing you a peaceful and rejuvenating summer.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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