big catch.

big catch - r.kennedy

sucking the marrow

it’s one of those days where i wake up to a sore belly and a dead bird and a cup of tea and a cooler breeze and a sad dog and a box of memories and a gnawing ache that i’ve got something to say.

 

upward on its heavenly oils

horizon - r.kennedy

in my suitcase i crammed one of my books of Mary Oliver’s poetry: New and Selected Poems, Volume One. i decided to read one poem a day, starting with the first page and reading my way through in order. i never read Mary that way. i rarely read any poetry that way. i flip and jump from middle to end. it felt important to limit myself to just ONE a day too – which is really hard to do if you’re me. but i wanted to learn how to really sit with the poem…not run off to fall in love with another one. and it has been good. i have savoured lines more deeply and read the same poem more repeatedly.

just now, sitting in the garden at dusk, i read my today poem…while the southern-hemisphere-sun sets around me and prepares to rise back home in the north. and it was all too perfect not to share.

The Sun

Have you ever seen

anything

in your life

more wonderful

 

than the way the sun,

every evening,

relaxed and easy,

floats toward the horizon

 

and into the clouds or the hills,

or the rumpled sea,

and is gone –

and how it slides again

 

out of the blackness,

every morning,

on the other side of the world,

like a red flower

 

streaming upward on its heavenly oils,

say, on a morning in early summer,

at its perfect imperial distance –

and have you ever felt for anything

 

such wild love –

do you think there is anywhere, in any language,

a word billowing enough

for the pleasure

 

that fills you,

as the sun

reaches out,

as it warms you

 

as you stand there,

empty-handed –

or have you too

turned from the world –

 

or have you too

gone crazy

for power,

for things?

 

– Mary Oliver

thirty days.

beachport - r.kennedy

30 days in and how do i begin?

maybe with the smell of the ocean and the sound of breaking waves and the wild empty beach where the sand was carpeted with smooth fragments of shells, and the washed up seaweed was like an Andy Goldsworthy-art-installation just sitting there being beautiful regardless of whether anyone bothered to come and take notice.

i could tell you about picking ripe mulberries, straight off the tree, blood red juice running down my fingers, staining everything in reach, while Bunter the sheep ran around crying for attention and tasty leaves.

i would want to mention to you about the farmers and wholehearted gardeners i meet who work hard to passionately grow native Australian flora; sun-drenched + kind as, wise in their knowing that so much of this country is relentless + wild and water is a scarce and precious resource, and only the seeds that were born of this place have the strength to innately survive.

koala crossing - r.kennedy

there was also the taxi driver in Adelaide named Amad, who taught us back-seat-riders how to meditate and make traditional soaked almond + poppy seed chai; who understood that not every idea was worth holding on to, and that happiness was born on the inside.

and there are the blue fairy wrens + king parrots + sulphur crested cockatoos + kookaburras + rosellas + lorikeets + magpies + wedge-tailed eagles + giant orchard butterflies + all the other winged wonders and singers and squawkers that fill my skies every day. oh, and also the King Brown snake i almost stepped on + the family of tawny frogmouths i saw sitting in the tree + the hilarious blue-headed emu that ran in front of our car + the mud wasp that is building the most mind-blowing nest on our roof beam + the partial skeleton and still perfectly intact ring of down feathers from a little fairy penguin that i found washed up on the beach.

tumbleweed - r.kennedy

there has been a lot of timber moving and ant-infesting and to-do-list making and big-idea dreaming and in-your-face-obstacle wrangling. there has been wood fired pizza and spinach + cheese pasties and fresh tomatoes and homemade marmalade. there has been days of non-stop rain and nights that begged for extra blankets and afternoons where the salty smell of my own sweat feels suffocating.

sydney - r.kennedy

i have road-tripped to the city and sipped flat whites on the rocks. i have spent days by the sea shore, waking up to beach rambles and falling asleep with a belly full of fresh fish and an ocean moon. there have been meals around big tables, and fish + chips on the beach. but mostly there have been days waking up in a small unfinished shack, the bed sitting where the shower will one day be, the water coming from an outdoor tap on a rain tank, the light coming from the sky. and on most days my view is green hills with cattle grazing, two competing roosters crowing in surround-sound, and a close-to-home existence that has everything to do with hopeful ambition and life-giving community.

i’m so grateful for all of it.

30 days in. there are only beginnings. this adventure has no end…

shack - r.kennedy

flexing my muscles.

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things exactly as they are

beach - r.kennedy

i am home from a night in a small black box theatre that sits at the back of a big red brick building. i watched a tall man play an even taller bass, and breathe music to a group of people that numbered only as many fingers as are on my one hand.
our minuscule audience learned each others names and the songs filled the space as though it was a packed room 5 times it’s size.
my life is filled with a lot of live music and i hold a deep reverence for the art. but every once and a while i get the chance to witness something really special unfold. tonight was one of those times.
Oliver Swain played his voice for the crazy instrument that it is, and embraced that upright bass like a lover. it was gorgeous to watch, and equally beautiful to listen to. it will reverberate in me for a long long time.

when gorgeous moments happen something in me craves to have people there to share it with. i want someone else to see that sunrise too. i want more people to hear the howl and yip of the coyotes as i fall asleep. i want people i love to understand how incredible it feels to stand in that spot on that beach on the shore of that ocean. i want a full room of eyes and ears to take in the sweet music that’s being created. 

but…i’m also learning to stop wishing that something was different and just fully embrace the way things are.
i am trying to practice being fully aware of MY own presence in those moments.
i am a witness. a participant. maybe that is enough.

Oliver deserved a full house tonight. his art and his talent are worth it all. but there was also something absolutely perfect about us 5 random listeners sprinkled around the tiny room. the beauty was performed whether or not a crowd was there to witness. the art was made with skill and heart despite a near empty room.
the experience left me feeling incredibly full.

sitting in that darkened room i found myself forgetting that anyone else mattered at all. i was just there, feeling grateful and inspired.

i drove away and came home to an empty space, all that energy burning inside me. you weren’t there to feel what i felt. but you’re here now, and the least i could do, the best i can do, is try to tell you about it.

keeping the edges wild.

photo: ash nayler

photo: ash nayler

this little home and those big trees. i love it all.

fierce beauty

 

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scent of damp earth and hot sun in a castle of glass and steel.

the earth is full of fierce beauty.

 

real magic

i’m sitting at a card table pushed up against a window that’s pushed up against cedar trees. i watch the squirrels be squirrels, and every once and a while, a chickadee passes through, and i feel like i have a secret portal window into their cedar tree world.
i couldn’t sleep last night. crawled into bed tired then became suddenly awake. after awake time rolled from parts of hours to multiple hours, i made toast and hot water + milk and read a book. The Gallery of Lost Species by Nina Berkhout. it has a unicorn on the cover which is possibly why i spontaneously grabbed it from the New Arrivals wall of my village library. i don’t think i’ve ever read a book with a unicorn on the cover, but i wrote one once when i was in grade 3. i also really liked the quote on the inside cover:

“Real magic can never be made by offering up someone else’s liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.”
– Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

i took a long walk to the dentist this morning. i mostly dread the dentist, even though this guy is probably the nicest one around. they put sunglasses on me, turned on Father of the Bride 2, and froze half of my face. an hour and a half later, i paid them money i don’t really have and walked home kicking leaves, trying not to drool. i never did find out how the movie ends.

on my slobbery walk home i stopped in the used book store. the last few years have been mostly about letting go rather than acquiring, so i haven’t spent much time scouring bookshops in a while. in fact the woman at the counter made it clear to me that i hadn’t used any of my store credit since 2013. but today it seemed like a good place to be while my face thawed, and i remembered what a wonderland a second-hand book shop is. dog-eared corners, highlights and underlines, scribbles in the margins. i pay extra for that sort of thing. it didn’t take long to build a stack in my hand, but i held myself to the 3-for-the-price-of-2 deal and showed some self control. my treasures? Flannery O’Connor to travel with me across the hemisphere in a couple of months; Witold Rybczynski and his Most Beautiful House in The World to mail to a friend; and a pocket sized Carl Sagan, because he wonders about things that fill me with wonder. i will go back again soon and unearth some more gems.

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.” – Carl Sagan
……………………….

its election day here in Canada. i should probably be ashamed of all the ways i feel un-informed. but i’m working hard on self-acceptance so i’m not going to go there. instead i will just tell you how i took all of my fragments of understanding, and all the un-quantifiable feelings i have in my gut, and i cast my ballot before i stuffed my face with turkey dinner, during the advance voting last weekend. and it felt good. there was no fanfare, barely even a line-up, and everyone was pretty keep-to-themselves about the whole affair. but i felt really good. and really grateful. its a taken-for-granted right + privilege. i hope you do it too.

the wind is moving through the cedar trees. i’m sipping ginger ale + o.j. through a straw and i can almost feel a bit of my lips again. in another hour or so i’m hoping i can eat. the sidewalks around here are honestly thick with leaves. if summer is the season of aliveness, fall is the season of glory. so much glory. so much beauty. no matter the politics. no matter the drool. makes me want to tear out my liver and bear witness to the magic. or at least try to tell you about it.

unicorns. scientists. frozen tongues. scribbles on paper. X marks the spot. how about we just say something today. me + you. whatever is in us to say. it’s easier than losing your liver. it’s just as glorious as fallen leaves.
it’s magic. real magic.
and it feels really good.

xx

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ecstasy and reverence.

“There is ecstasy in paying attention” – Anne Lammott

…………

i have been using this hand-me-down phone for a couple of years now. this week, for the first time, i uploaded photos from it onto my computer. a couple years worth, a couple trips around the globe. the phone is old. the camera is weak. the pictures aren’t trying to be perfect. but the moments…ah, the moments…they are winners. every single one of them, top notch gold. i know. i was there.

anyway, why should i expect a tiny, cracked, pocket-sized machine to be able to really capture the way the sun set the late afternoon field on fire; or the wildness of the empty beach; or the perfection of my plate of food or the barely-still butterfly or the joy of your face?

isn’t the gorgeousness of this life all about having a beating heart and a conscious mind and a spirit that can be moved in ecstasy, in reverence? no machine can tell the story of what my eyes see, what my bones know. i take the pictures as souvenirs, postcards to remind me:

“i was there. that was real. i felt it all.”

…………

santa parade - r. kennedy

bruce - r.kennedy

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wheatley lane

simon - r.kennedy

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farm - r.kennedy

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sunken ship - r.kennedy

tarts - r.kennedy

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bike - r.kennedy

m.bloom

photo credit: M.Bloom

r.kennedy

…………

there’s so much more where these came from.

xx

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Words + Photos + Credit

Unless otherwise noted, all original photography and text are property of Raechelle Kennedy. If you see or read something here and feel inspired to share it somehow, please be considerate and give the artist (me!) credit, or even better, drop me a note and make sure I don’t mind.
Thank you!

Here + There

Secondhand Sainthood and the gift of losing it all – Topology Magazine, December 2015

Ten Things Made – Topology Magazine, December 2015

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