a bridge.

fay + rae

i live in and between two worlds. they are lands of similarities and opposites. they are miles and miles and miles apart. i hold them both inside of me.
i’ve never been too afraid of distance. sometimes i’ve even craved it. solitary spaces. this woman is an island. by default or design, i have a habit of retreating.
but lately i’ve been longing for bridges.
i’ve been wanting to find ways to weave yarns to connect here and there, this and that. maybe i’m just craving cohesion.
maybe my fragmented heart just gets tired sometimes.
maybe it just seems easier that way.
less explaining, more understanding.
see it all with our own eyes.

i cling to patient hope.
word by word, picture by picture, all in due time. the lines between spaces will strengthen and bind.

two days ago this beautiful soul showed up at my door.
this is Fay. she has been a teacher, a mentor, and a gorgeous friend in my life for many years. she is a life-giver and a truth-teller and I love her deeply. and today she came all the way from Haliburton, ON to sit and eat lunch with me in our half-built house in Candelo, NSW. it was both surreal and completely normal. and I am so so so grateful.

sometimes a bridge is built of steel and stone; other times of flesh and bone. this vibrant woman was a bridge between my two worlds this week. i realised as she was leaving how profoundly her presence touched me. the power of that connection. the gift of being seen.

bless the spaces between us.
bless the courage required to cross the divide.
bless that gorgeous smile.

xx

beauty + weight

sea urchin - r.kennedy

i have been living in the company of stories – not mine, but becoming a part of me. my days have been ordered by cups of tea + remembering + listening + toast with marmalade + work in the garden. the kitchen here has a stove and a full pantry and the baker in me has been unleashing. today i ate triangle egg salad sandwiches and strawberries plump from the garden, in the company of two women who have been friends for near on 60 years. we wandered through rose gardens, among towering trees that my host once planted herself by hand. every day feels full of both the future and the past. somewhere in there i have had my breath stolen by art and my heart swollen by trust. i was caught in a downpour, buried a bird, wove my first basket, and found an unearthly purple sea urchin washed up on the beach. 

all i can say is bless the day, the beauty and the weight of it.

Let no one keep you from your journey

a week later.
after time travel, jet lag, and a flu bug.
feeling like i left home, to come home.
a snow+sick day.
some pictures and a poem.

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four

five

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(pic courtesy of Christina)

(pic courtesy of Christina)

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Breaking Surface

Let no one keep you from your journey,
no rabbi or priest, no mother
who wants you to dig for treasures
she misplaced, no father
who won’t let one life be enough,
no lover who measures their worth
by what you might give up,
no voice that tells you in the night
it cannot be done.

Let nothing dissuade you
from seeing what you see
or feeling the winds that make you
want to dance alone
or go where no one
has yet to go.

You are the only explorer,
Your heart, the unreadable compass.
Your soul, the shore of a promise
too great to be ignored.

Mark Nepo

blink and they’re gone

one hell of a year, in retrospect.

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and a million other moments in between.

so grateful.
so humbled.
so blessed.

(all photos c/o me, except the one of The Boss rockin’ out…that one is courtesy of The Globe and Mail. i was too busy dancin’ in the dark to snap a photo…smile.)

travel as equals

i drove old familiar roads today to attend a celebration,
a memorial,
for a beautiful woman
with mischievous eyes.

not bound by walls or coffins or concrete crosses
this honoring, this grieving,
was happening among the trees
and their changing leaves
and the beauty of mid-september skies.

i knew the route to the forest like the back of my hand,
my mind barely aware of the landscape,
the landmarks,
as my car rambled by.

i was thinking about lives lived, lessons learned.
i was trying to put my finger on the words
that could explain what remains
after her passing.
what it is she leaves behind
in me.

those sorts of words don’t easily come.
i search for them anyway.

my friend was a woman who didn’t travel light in heart in this world.
her story was not simple nor easy to share.
but her laugh was contagious
and her perseverance relentless
and i think it would be safe to say
that her footsteps got lighter the longer she walked.
i don’t know if she would claim
that the journey got any easier,
but i do think she could write you poems
about the beauty she was learning to see along the way.

and i know that she knew
that she wasn’t travelling through life
alone.

in the afternoon light,
with black eyed susans and burning tobacco,
we brought our still-living bones
to gather together
to tell stories
to whisper prayers…pleads…blessings

to express our gratitude.

for so much.
for the way we are changed when we let ourselves walk close enough to someone else.
for the way a heart, even (especially?) a broken one, can be a vehicle for so much blessing,
so much light.

i don’t know, at the end of it all, if there is anything more that i aspire to,
anything greater that i could hope for,
then to have a community gather under autumn leaves
and say
we are better for having known you.
we are thankful for your life.

thank you, dear girl, for living your story with such courage, generosity, and humility.
you are already missed.

[ on my drive home, with the sun dropping lower in the sky, this song came on the radio. i had never heard it before today, but it seemed strangely fitting. If there is one thing that my beautiful friend and her gracious community have taught me, it’s that “the only way we can survive, [is to] travel as equals or not at all”. ]

on heatwaves and birthdays and songs that are always worth singing

windows down, fans in full force. finding respite in shady places and icey teas. the constant salty skin, the way the mind loses all sense of time, heat of moments just melt one into another.
fresh peaches and plums, wild blueberries and cherries. baking at midnight, napping afternoons away. max and his wolf suit, piano on the record player, scent of fresh laundry being blown around on the breeze.
chocolate cake under the oak tree, smores around the fire. the way a sister sings, unashamed, giving courage, permission, to join in the chorus. indian food and cherry pits, strangers around a breakfast table. a bird who bathes himself with lemon rind.
waking up to poems that resonate in deep places. the strong legs of a small gymnast, the creak of a bicycle seat. letterpress and guitar strings, birthdays and remembrances. noodles in the park by the big lake. fresh baked olive bread on the shores of the river. comfort and gratitude. these hands that are always ready to hold you.
the days are unstoppable. i welcome myself to another year of living. the road is ever-winding. i’m going to keep walking. my pockets are heavy with lessons learned, treasures found, bits of stories that still hang around. i’m not as afraid as i used to be. it’s okay if you don’t understand. i’m unfolding anyways. it’s not heartless, it’s honest, though even the truth can feel muddled sometimes.
my feet feel lighter. something inside me feels freer. maybe what’s necessary doesn’t always come easy. there’s a path, and i think i’m on it, though i don’t know anymore where i want it to lead. happy wanderer. forgive the bumps along the way. there are too many gifts to worry over the weight of the bruises.
protect your skin. keep it tender, keep it tough. drink plenty of water.
breathe.
the moon is rising, and somewhere else, the sun too.
you’re not alone here, dear girl.
every moment is something new.
listen to the song he sings,
heart to fly, hopes to rise, simple every day
just keep going…

a morning spent, grateful.

i spent the morning sitting in a garden, painting prayer flags, with a group of art-makers who have helped me to learn what it really means to bless, what it really means to be brave. i ate the most beautiful and thoughtful cake…i felt loved to my very bones…i was humbled by the kindness they wrapped me in.

i have made many mistakes. i walk around with so many unknowns. but this morning in the garden i was reminded that the world is full of broken hearts who are not afraid to lavish grace.

we can only ever be exactly what we are. perfectly wounded. perfectly beautiful.
thank you, my dear gwc art friends, for helping me to understand that that is enough.

Getting lost is another exercise in navigation

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It will be all right in the end, and maybe even in the middle. You will not suffer as long as you think you will. You are not fated to be unhappy. You are not destined for failure. Remember who you are. Let me say it again. Remember who you are. Be gentle. Practice exquisite acts of self-care. You don’t have to be as strong as you think you do. You don’t have to be wise and certain about your path. Your frailty is beautiful, and your innocence too. Getting lost is another exercise in navigation. You can’t fix everything you touch. You won’t break everything you touch. Don’t apologize if you’re tired. Don’t second-guess your stomach. Maintain eye contact with everything, especially yourself. Fall to your knees at least once a day. Say yes at least twice. Love daringly, wholly, unapologetically. Believe in magic. Befriend your fear. Look up. Listen. The birds will tell you everything you need to know about flight. Forgive yourself your great sadness. Unlock what hurts. Make a prayer for loss. Unpen your words. Get messier than anyone thinks you should. You’ll know when you’re ready. I’ll say it again. You’ll know when you’re ready.

–  You Will Know, by Maya Stein

a really good day.

You think this is just another day in your life.

It’s not just another day,  it’s the one day that is given to you, today…

It’s given to you. It’s a gift, it’s the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness.

If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response through the great gift that this unique day is , if you learn to respond as if it was the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.

……

open your heart and drink

……

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the failure keeps us humble and leads us closer to peace.

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thanks to my sweet friend amy for sharing this song with me the other day.

it’s the kind that needs to be shared.

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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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