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.

IMG_2590 rotate

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

sunfire and stardust.

sunrise- r.kennedy

the day started with sun fire streaking the pink sky. it was hot by breakfast and i couldn’t stop sneezing. our tin box bedroom is being taken over by ants and i was shaking cinnamon with wild abandon, grasping at old-wives straws that somehow the spice would convince them to pick up and move house. in the still heat of the morning i was folding all the laundry that i’d washed by hand the day before in my preserving pot basin with cold rainwater and eucalyptus oil soap. somewhere in the middle of the ants and the heat and the folding i heard music. bagpipes calling out Amazing Grace. it was strange and surreal and i stood still, listening and wondering, and then realised that over the hill was the old cemetery, usually forgotten and overgrown in this tiny country town, but today it was singing. today there was dying and remembering. today there was music. so i stopped and i listened because that felt like the right thing to do for a stranger life that lived and lives-no-longer. pay attention. 


in the afternoon i dug my hands into the bounty of tomatoes we’d been given from friends abundant gardens, and let them roast till they popped with basil and garlic and olive oil, the smell of late summer sticking to the sweaty air. i sang bob marley songs while fingering wool and tried to funnel my hazy mind into acts of creation. i watered thirsty plants. i made sage brews and laid flat on the concrete floor of our half-built house. when the sun went down i put headphones on and danced my bones under a galaxy of stars. because i can. at the end of it all i stared up at the night sky and let moments and remembering move through me. it was a day that marks an anniversary in the calendar of my mind. sadness and celebration. loss and gain. it’s a journey full of feelings. full of learning. 


the day started with sun fire and ended with stardust.
so many people tell me that my life is a dream. 

i’m here to tell you it’s as real as the sweat on my skin; as full of loss as the fresh dug grave; as delicious as late summer tomatoes; as true as the breath in my lungs when i dance my bones in moonlit skies.
i couldn’t dream this. i wouldn’t dare.
pay attention.
this living is so real.
xx

not cool, Robert Frost.

……
but what if there really were two paths?
I want to be on the one that leads to awesome.

……
kid prez

this just made my day. (thanks joon!).stop whatever you’re doing and watch it. for real.

kid president

kid president

a list for curing what ails you

Golden Sails by Elly MacKay

Golden Sails by Elly MacKay


1. a bus ride in a snow storm
2. hot water with fresh squeezed orange juice and honey
3. noodles. always noodles.
4. pocket size hand-bound books
5. neighbourhood farmers markets
6. pear and ginger jam spread on homemade bread topped with thin slices of goat gouda
7. waking up to scones
8. 2 year old dance parties
9. foot rubs
10. the way he wonders about everything
11. beautiful music in bakery forts
12. laughter
13. the company of friends who just let you be
14. sleeping in
15. drawing pictures
16. listening to this. on repeat.
17. spending hard earned money on things that people’s hands have worked hard to make.
18. a long walk on rainy streets in another town
19. chocolate + mint
20. getting back up again, even when it feels like the world keeps knocking you down.
21. losing yourself in a story
22. leaving.
23. returning.
24. the tenderness of sleep.

What treasure lies within our bodies

Pina Bausch

Pina Bausch

” Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost.”
……

i think i was born a dancer. maybe we all are.
we just get taught to sit still instead of to soar. we get stuck, we get distracted, we get afraid. we forget what our bodies are capable of; we stop learning what they can teach us, what pleasures they love.

for as long as i can remember, dancing has been something i have longed to do. for too few years, it’s been something i’ve actually done. it used to weigh on me, a big regret. a missed opportunity. a yearning and delight that was for too long overshadowed by awkwardness and self-doubt; heavy feet and self-conscious limbs. there were spurts of bravery – at a concert, a wedding, the odd attempt at a class of some sort – where i would let loose and flail around and lose myself in the pleasure of rhythm and bones. but more often than not, i made excuses. talked myself out of it. sat out rather than jump in.

until a few years ago, when i stood in the bathroom with my then-still-living grandmother. i was helping her get ready for bed, her limbs too weak and tired to do the ordinary tasks of buttoning and un-buttoning, bending over to pull off socks. i asked her, as she washed her face, if she had any regrets in her life. she paused and said yes.
“i regret that i never danced, and now that i’m willing by body’s too old.”

i promised myself then and there that i would dance my still young limbs as often as i could. fuck the excuses, the self-consciousness, the fear. this life is too short. just dance, girl.
……

“be honest. in every movement, in every gesture.”
……
i sat tonight in a large theatre and watched an extraordinarily breathtaking film. i really knew nothing about it going in, other than it was about dance, and i had a pretty good feeling that i would leave inspired. inspired is an understatement.

i was moved. touched. pulled. delighted. awed. broken. challenged. reminded. speechless.

as the film maker, Wim Wenders, said:

What treasure lies within our bodies, to be able to express itself without words,
and how many stories can be told without saying a single sentence.

what treasure lies within our bodies.
the ability to say so much without using a single word.

the way one woman’s life and creative vision can challenge and compel so many other lives to stretch and move and search and exist with vigorous honesty and passion.

your fragility is your strength, she said.
and from my seat, i felt my bones leap.
……
“just keep searching. even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, or if you’re on the right track…”
……
every tuesday night i get in my car and i drive to a loft in a big old house and i take off my socks and my shoes and i dance. i dance for my body, because i know it enjoys it. i dance to feel limber; to remember what it feels like to stretch, to jump, to bend, to really move. i dance even when i don’t feel like it, especially then. i dance when my head hurts and my back aches. i dance when i feel stuck; when i get sad. i dance to catch my breath again; to laugh; to tap in to pure delight. i dance so i can grind my hips and shake my limbs. i dance for my grandmother and her one regret. i dance for all the times i sat out and felt ungraceful and afraid. i dance for the little girl who is still very much alive in me. i dance to stop thinking, stop worrying, stop trying to figure it out. i dance because when i dance i have no questions and therefore need no answers. i dance to take flight. i dance because it takes me somewhere new, every time; because it gives me what i’m looking for without me ever having to ask.
i dance because i believe it’s what i was born to do.
i dance because otherwise, i am lost.

……

Pina Bausch - 1

victory speech.

a chilly loft and leg warmers, limbs that stretch and move.
the way dancing breathes life into hips, spine, and knees.

a to do list that cleans out the nooks and the crannies,
trying to face those things so they quit following me.

a president re-elected to the sounds of marvin gaye,
and i for one am reveling
in lighter loads,
satisfied bones,
good luck
and
humility.

highways and hurricanes

when a week ago you wondered about a plan b
in case of freak weather
i laughed it off.
all i knew in that moment was unexpected sunshine, bare skin, warm breeze.
a day of road trips and fall wine and golden leaves.
i couldn’t imagine clouds on the horizon.

but last night, on that highway, with wind and rain that shook the trees, the car, these bones
i drove through the heart of that storm
that arrived precisely when we didn’t want it to.

fingers clenched, shoulders hunched, eyes unblinking
i slowly steered myself home,
while behind me planes took flight.

and i was reminded
that we never know what lies ahead;
that life is this awkward dance
of learning to be
at once both fully in the moment,
while at the same time fully open to whatever is coming next.

wind blowing
time rolling,
i’m still moving
i’m still right here.

a way to make your soul grow

calm the storm.

veronica derry
veronica derry

1. her work inspires me every time.

2. fishing the Ganaraska no matter the weather

3. this song makes me want to dance. guilty pleasure? nah. no guilt. only pleasure. (don’t waste your time on the video, just dance to the song. trust me.)

4. the fear of being alone spans the spectrum from old to young.

5. felting with the Wonder Women…the moment of realizing who was missing from the table. death is greedy sometimes.

6. two days straight of making art with brave hearts, in rooms full of stories.

7. my artist friends who gather here every Thursday morning are some of my favorite humans. whatever i have taught them about art pales in the light of what they have taught me about courage, generosity, and community.

brave art.

brave art.

8. watching connections happen in wordless places, armed only with pastels and quiet questions.

9. driving home down wet and dark country roads, longing for spring.

10. learning to let go and trust.

Crabbuckits and itchy bones

there’s always a million reasons to say no.

excuses are plentiful. strong arguments for why-not-to aren’t hard to come by. few will blame me if i just don’t bother.

it’s easier, you know…

but

what if i just said yes this time?

what if i dropped the excuses? focused energy on why i should, why i could, what good would come if i did? where would i be if i just stepped out and went for it?

life is short, you know…

……

it was tuesday night. i’d spent the day rolling dough and pouring coffee in the darling village bakery. i had a looming deadline of an art show fast approaching and nothing prepared. i had things i could be doing. you know – stuff. important stuff. practical stuff. stuff stuff.

there’s a tightness that comes with cold weather sinking in. and a weight to some of my days as of late. and, well, some tension/tiredness/ache from a rollercoaster year of living. yeah…there’s a pocketful of reasons for my body to be tired. and somedays i let that tiredness win. i pull out the excuses and my list of why not to, and i settle into the weariness and steep there.

tiredness and to do lists. you know?

but it was tuesday night. and life was feeling too short. and my shoulders were feeling like i’d been carrying it all around for too long. and i didn’t want to do lists. i didn’t even want tiredness. i just wanted to dance.

mhmm.

my bones were just itching to move. like they were fed up with being dragged around and wanted to let loose and stretch out and show me what they were made of. tired of being tired, i just wanted to feel really alive.

what if i just said yes this time?

yes to moving and laughing and stretching and relaxing and playing and forgetting and remembering and breathing…and living.

just say yes, girl.

so i did.

and on tuesday night, after a long day, i found myself on a dance floor with a dear friend, letting loose and letting go and finding my breath and feeling my heart (race, not break)…and i laughed and smiled and felt full of life…

there’s a million reasons to say no.

but life is short, you know…

the tuesday night dance soundtrack

k-os dancin' man

k-os dancin' man

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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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