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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

a bridge.

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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

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

beauty + weight

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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.

thirty days.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.”

…………

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wheatley lane

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photo credit: M.Bloom

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…………

there’s so much more where these came from.

xx

the other day i woke up lonesome.

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the smell of sawdust + eucalyptus.

the taste of lamingtons + vanilla slice + bush honey yogurt.

the chatter of the magpies + the belly laughs of the kookaburras + the all day cry of old Charles’ rooster.

the way the light moves.

the mountain range, unchanging.

the salty ocean within my reach.

the half-built house that is bliss + toil + home.

the good bones + hearts that make it all come alive.

……

i am here and i am there. i feel full and fragmented. i am home and homesick.

i want it all. and with gratitude, i have it.

this isn’t wailing, it’s me exhaling.

when i breathe i feel big enough to contain it.

 

but still

somedays

i wake up wanting

and missing.

 

exhale.

 

The Museum comes alive…

Museum - R. Kennedy

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There were stories + typewriters + strangers + friends + cheese platters + children.

3 year old George showed up with his magnifying glass.

Memories were scribbled down on bits of paper and strung along a wall, becoming part of the exhibit.

Paper dolls were dressed.

Cards were played.

I felt a lot of love.

The museum felt alive.

It was everything I hoped it would be.

Thank you for showing up and sharing stories and supporting art.

 

In all the pleasure of the eve of the opening, my camera never made it out of its bag. Luckily D. snapped a few shots on his phone…a pocket size record of the night. You get the idea.

 

The Museum of Perpetual Memory is on exhibit until the end of the month.

Pastry Peddler // 17 King St. E, Millbrook, ON.

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heap of thanks

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…can i just say thanks?

thanks to those of you who keep reading these pages, even when my scribbling is sporadic and my presence sparse.

thanks for spreading the word that this space exists. thanks for sharing links and passing my words along to your family and friends. thanks for giving my writing wings.

thanks for telling me that you keep checking in. that the words that i write mean something to you. that you want me to keep going.

really.

because i will always write. i don’t remember my life without the love of words. but sometimes i struggle to believe that people will want to read what i write. that it’s worth the energy and risk to make myself vulnerable and put it out in the world.

but when you tell me it is, when you write me and comment and come up to me on the street and let me know that it all matters to you, even means a lot…well, i believe you. and it helps me remember to be brave and keep going.

so thank you.

we all need each other, don’t we?

here’s to being brave.

xx

more of this

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some days are about other things:
work + sweat + lists + labour + questions + duties + fear + striving + worry + recovering + appeasing + pleasing + pushing + pretending + getting it done.

but other days are about these things:
play + rest + pleasure + remembering + trust + delight + imagining + adventure + savouring + appreciating + deep breaths + indulgence + making the most of it all.

i just marked the milestone of one more journey around the sun.

from when i was a little girl i was always told i had an old soul.
with every year that i’m alive i keep trying to re-learn how to be a child.

i’m not afraid of getting old. i’m only scared of waking up to the end and realizing that i never really gave this trip an honest go.

at the close of the day, on the occasion of another year, i held a melting ice cream cone in one hand, and a cupcake in the other and i looked around the kitchen full of love, and my memory raced through the faces and moments of my days, and the only thing in the whole world that i could think to wish for was more of this.

more of this.

you can keep all of those other things.

but please, bless, give me more of this.

Next Posts

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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