another trip around the sun.

there is a blue sky and a cool breeze. there is a cat rubbing it’s head against my wet showered hair. there is a long sun porch with a flowered couch and big windows and a weathered arm chair with my bones flopped in it. there is a fading fiddle fig and a family of rabbits. right above me the holy spirit helper dances in the wind.

earlier this week i celebrated another trip around the sun. i travelled hours and miles through traffic jams and storm clouds and best-in-show sunsets so i could mark the occasion in an unfamiliar town with some of the humans i love the most in this world. it’s good. it’s really good. and by good, i mean incredible. and by “it”, i mean everything.

i have shared slow mornings with cooked breakfasts / eaten gooseberry strawberry crumble / walked on the ocean floor in my bare feet through slick brown mud / sat in the hot seat / snuggled bright eyed little ones / laughed / stuffed myself with lobster + scallops + calamari + salmon + cod + haddock in all forms and flavours / drank bottomless pots of earl grey / laughed more / shared stories/ drank truth serum / walked summer sidewalks / bought jam + cookies from an old couple on a country road in a 200+ year old house full of latch rugs and stories / stayed up late/ slept in / dined on ethiopian / devoured chocolate sea salt brownies + an almond croissant / fallen into bed full and tired at the end of every single day.

birthdays have always filled me with gratitude. i’m alive, right? that’s all the reason i need to blow up some balloons and eat cake. but i’ve noticed these last few years that my relationship with time and ageing is changing. i don’t know if it’s that time feels more like dry sand running through my fingertips, or if i’ve just weakened in my grip. i only know it moves faster than it used to. the future feels closer. the past feels complicated. i have moments where i feel like i have lived lives within lives – where my own stories read like fictions, movies i’ve watched so many times i know the scripts by heart but i no longer feel them as my own.

these last few days spent in this sun porch house have held countless hours of conversations and questions. our small lifetimes packed with silences and observations, things felt but never named, loose threads – they’ve been hacked at with a scalpel and exposed to open air (usually after sunset, around the kitchen table, once the kids are in bed). getting older is a weird trip. that day when you wake and suddenly realize you are the age you so clearly remember your parents being when you were a kid. that mirror that confronts you every morning with your body, more woman than girl now, more fleshy and tired and stubborn than you surely ever thought possible. the arrival of alzheimers in the family. the scare of cancer. the birth of children. the way perspective changes and relationships shift and nothing really feels like it used to and some of that is way better and some it is way harder and a lot of it is just plain different.

as i said, getting older is a weird trip. it’s kinda harsh. and kind of amazing.

those hours spent around the table this week,  talking and naming and shaking out the ghosts, they’ve left me feeling a lot of things. mostly gratitude. but also some clarity, and maybe a bit more courage too.

i want time to keep shaking me into wakefulness.

i want to loosen some baggage and keep lightening my load.

i want to name the ghosts in the closet.

i want to hold it all with more gentleness.

every year, every day, i feel like i settle into my own weathered skin a little bit more – which is grossly painful sometimes, but liberating nonetheless. this old armchair cradles my bones just right, which makes me think that i’m exactly where i need to be, in this breezy porch on this blue sky day, in this year of living with with all it’s whispered truths and frayed edges, the holy spirit helper shaking her rainbow feathers above my damp and cat kissed head. i’m not sure i know what any of it really means, but i’m here and i’m thankful. and that’s more than enough.

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annual birthday leap + dance photo shoot, this time in a crooked british burial ground in New Brunswick. because life’s too short not to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

each mad heart silent, a brilliant music stilled.

making a list is all about not knowing where to start with the words in your brain and the rumbles in your bones. so you get to stop thinking about it and just start at number

  1. a blue jay and a woodpecker. my morning raucous serenade.
  2. a hummingbird, one of the last of the hanger-on-ers of the season, shared a spot at the breakfast booth with me the other day.  sometimes, when the juice is running low, i wake up to the sound of one hovering beside my face while i’m still in bed, staring at me through the thin pane of glass. those tiny wings beat so fast that they make enough noise to wake me from sleep. the awesomeness of this is never lost on me.
  3. a butterfly hunt with Mr. Jones. we returned with a wooden basket bounty of a couple pinecones + a topless acorn + too many dead bumblebees ( what happened to the bees?) + a grey feather + roadside pebbles + some dismembered Red Admiral wings + a lot of Yellow Sulphurs + one recently injured but still very alive Monarch.
  4. buying nectarines + orange currant bread outside in the rain.
  5. the rain.
  6. i keep thinking about coyotes. all summer long they howl and yip such an eerie lullaby all around our caravan home. they stop us in our tracks. they’ve kept us from our sleep. but i never actually see them. part of me is cool with that. the other part of me begs for a glimpse. they’re so full of mystery and i’m so full of curiosity. the world is so full of amazing.
  7. while you and me were busy doing other things this morning – making lists, buying groceries, going to work, complaining about the weather – there were incredible things happening all around us. like babies being born. like one baby in particular…who was born probably right around the time i was picking out the nicest cauliflower from the Italian farmer guy at the market for only $2. amazing. i haven’t even met this babe yet but already i know i love him to the moon and back. the heart is tremendous like that. so are our days…there’s always more to them than just the cauliflower and the rain…
  8. …speaking of cauliflower…i can’t seem to eat my fill. i’m crushin’ on the cruciferous big time.
  9. there are three windows open on my computer screen tonight. one is this blog post page, words mid-composition. one is my partially filled out Visa application for Australia. the third is a stream of CBC news stories about refugees. there is an irony, a tragedy, an injustice, and a mash up of a million other feelings, that sit firmly between windows two and three. my privilege makes my heart ache. which leads me back to window one. right here. making a list because there’s nowhere else to begin.
  10. my sweetheart and i had a crazy idea. and we acted on it. and it worked. and that is one of the best feelings in the world. here’s to living out more crazy creative brilliance!
  11. more rain + this cozy sweater + a finished cup of hot chocolate + the close of a full day + the end of a list. oh, and this picture, because it brings me joy in every way.
  12. old brown guitar case

 

other things, just as cold

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……
i bought myself flowers two days ago. just because.
tulips – orange ones and purple ones.
i bought enough so i could put some in every room of my little nook.
i wanted to be able to see them, no matter where i was.
they’re really starting to open up today. the petals are relaxing. stems curving.
their sweet, subtle smell keeps catching me off guard.
i can’t tell you how much i like that.

……

there is something strange in my bones these days.
an awkwardness. an unsettledness.
a neither here nor there.
they feel sluggish and unfocused but at the same time, antsy and in-want of.
at first i called it jet lag. then i blamed the full moon. maybe it’s more aptly
a question i don’t yet have the answer to.

……

my mind keeps wandering backwards.
it’s not nostalgia. more like the opposite.
tip-toeing back through moments and memories and tender places
that don’t feel so good. that make the heart feel its weight. that force me to reckon with
forgiveness and regret.
i don’t know why that’s the path i keep returning to. i have theories, but no proof.
i keep hoping it’s leading me somewhere good.
out of brambles and thorns come berries and roses…right?

……

i’ve been opening the windows whenever i can. even just for a few minutes. layer on another sweater, more socks.
it’s worth it.
to feel that fresh spring air.
to smell dirt and hear birds. to have the lines between inside and outside become just a little bit thinner.
i’m so hungry for sun and wind and warmth.
i think i’m just really ready for something new.

……

Spring is a time for dreamers. Spring is a time for coming clean in the scrubbing scream of the wind. Spring is for breaking free of the manacles of whatever cold thing that has been holding you far too tightly, for far too long. I’m not even talking about ice and snow, I’m talking about other things, just as cold, that shrink and burn the spirit and nibble on your bones. Cast it all off and begin anew. This season gives full license to beginnings, limitless living, leaping forth into height and strength. Upward. Onward.

Dear hearts, oh, dear hearts. Grow only hope, I will too.

– from The Noisy Plume

……

on the seventh day

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i grew up on a story that taught me to believe
that this whole wide world was
made from scratch
in just under seven days
(leaving time at the end for a much needed step-back, admire, and rest).

i’m not so sure what i think anymore about
Adam and Eve
and that whirlwind tale of creation.

my faith doesn’t seem to have the legs to leap that far these days.

but,
what i do know,
is that seven days ago
i stood on the other side of this great big planet
and watched the moon rise in a cloudy sky.
what i can believe,
is that seven days is more than enough time
for a heart to feel uprooted
and bones to grow lonesome.

one’s world can look so different by weeks end.

things rarely finish like they began.

i’m still trying to find it good.

somewhere in the night

it’s far too late to be awake still
but my bum foot and bum-foot-hopefully-healing-medicines
have a wakefulness side effect. combo that with the late afternoon nap i had,
and it makes for one open eyed bird at this late hour of the night.

what do i do with myself?

i’m double fisting books right now but neither one is really holding my attention. i pulled out of face-book land a long while ago, so i can’t go creeping around there. my only bulletin board hangs on my wall, and the online ones of others leave me swimming in some cocktail sea of inspiration/overkill/envy/self-doubt/pleasure…always swamping me in the end with plain old overwhelmed.
i tried the middle-of-the-night shower (sorry downstairs neighbour).
i researched poisonous plants.
i wandered through blog land.
i youtubed bill withers.
i read some poems.

earlier in the night i took my dog for a drive.
i know…dogs much prefer walks. but this whole bum foot business makes walking to the kitchen a chore, let alone walking around a few city blocks with a big-hairy-squirrel-chasing-beast-on-a-leash…so i opted for a drive to the country instead. i once read that taking your dog out in the early evening is like the equivalent of a sensory orgasm for your pet. the air at that hour (so i read) is so thick with the scents of the day, that they just go wild in the best possible way. so i loaded the old guy in the car, opened the sun roof, rolled down the windows, and took us both out for a good time. it was great. he hung his head out the window and stuck his nose in the air…we listened to jazz on the radio…we watched the sun start to set over farm fields…

hello friday night.

i’m not sure if there’s a point to this post. i just felt like writing, and, well, quite frankly around here, that’s all the reason i need to have. i used to be driven to write words all the time. when i was younger i couldn’t feed paper through my typewriter fast enough. i filled spiral bound notebooks like they were going out of style. but now i have to work the muscle a lot harder to get the words to come out.
i need to exercise intention. i need to follow the impulse. i need to make myself sit down and write.

so it’s 2am and i’m writing improper sentences without using capitals, and i’m telling you about body malaise and you tube videos and evening drives with my dog.

and when i started this post there was a moth fluttering around my lamp, doing what moths do, trying to get close to the light. i just noticed that the fluttering has stopped. even the moth has gone to sleep.

i will turn off the lamp now.
i think i’ve done enough.
the body will heal.
words that need saying will come.
we’ll all keep moving toward the light.

delicate architecture

“Here is your delicate architecture

your fragile aliveness.”

– Maya Stein

……

a small show of new works

delicate 3

July 13th to 31st

.the silver bean cafe.

peterborough

slow morning dance

let your body move, nice and gentle, into the morning with this song

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dance kitchen revolution for a sunny day

Happy sunny Wednesday!

go put your dance shoes on

and let your winter bones find their rhythm…

i wish i could see you soon

dune

dance kitchen revolution

i’ve spent the last number of days

thinking a lot about growing old.

i’ve spent a lot of hours

watching tired bones

fight to hold themselves together.

i’ve spent time remembering stories

from a full life…stories of fond memories,

stories of missed opportunities.

all we have are these moments.

…..

the other morning i had to drag my own tired bones

across town

and force them to go to dance class.

i was achy and sore and exhausted

and the last thing i felt like doing was dancing.

but i went. because i felt like i should.

and sometimes the “shoulds” are my worst enemy.

but other times, they are a blessing in disguise.

and when the music started that morning

i started to move.

slow and stiff and resistant.

but somewhere in around the second song,

i thought of  the one that i love

across town in a hospital bed,

with bones too old and sore to move around;

the one with a spirit so alive, but a body that has never been able to dance.

and i realized i have much to be thankful for.

and i thought, what a gift!

to be able to move and jump and bend and spin.

and who am i – who am i? –

to say no, i’m too tired?

to live a life so ungrateful?

all we have are these moments.

i want to squeeze the juice out of them.

…..

a little while ago some friends and i started sharing songs that made us want to dance. songs that got us up out of our chairs…shimmying, shaking, wiggling, stomping, swirling…

we called it the dance kitchen revolution. because it was all about turning those ordinary spaces – kitchens and hallways and backyards – into dance floors. it was all about following that impulse to move and let loose. it wasn’t about moving gracefully – it was just about moving. period.

i’ve been thinking this week that the dance kitchen revolution deserves another spin around the floor. and it felt like a good fit to give it a home here at Blackbird Studio – this space that is all about encouraging the creative impulse, the letting go…

so, in the spirit of gratitude for the life that’s still in my bones, i’m going to start sharing songs to get us dancing. but i want you to get involved too. this is meant to be a revolution – not a one woman show.  send me your songs – either links to videos, or even just the name/artist and i’ll try to find it – and once a week i’ll post them here.  and we’ll dance.

all we have are these moments.

let’s dance them till they’re gone.

…..

i heard charlie singing on the radio this morning – he always makes me want to dance. so we’ll let him start us off…

let the revolution begin!

rae art 036

songs for a saturday

every once and a while i meet a voice that burrows its way deep down into my bones.

patty griffin is one of those voices for me.

when she sings i shift and shiver; i open up and i melt down.

she makes me want to dance and sing along really, really loud.

she brings the fixin’s for a pretty sweet saturday.

so give this one a listen. then go out and get your hands on every other song she’s ever written.

seriously.

patty-griffin

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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