big catch.

big catch - r.kennedy

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

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

 

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.

 

touch the edge

 

 

It was early evening light on a pebble beach on a hot day. It was me, and a beautiful 10 year old girl, both in our bare feet, waves splashing. We had made the trek to the small stretch of shore on the big lake to hunt. To scour. To search and fill our palms and pockets with washed up treasures.

We set out on a westerly course, away from factory smoke and dog-walkers. We passed a few other scavengers: a pair with arms laden with large rocks; another couple, fists full of sticks. Otherwise, we were all alone, heads down, eyes roaming.

While my blonde-haired companion was collecting black stones and smooth grey rocks, I had my eyes set on mermaids tears. Beach glass. I have a weakness for it, and every piece I find, no matter how small, delights me. Every single time.

My small satchel was gathering a good haul – some nice clear white pieces, a few greens. I even found a holy stone, another cherished beach-combing treasure that my friend Veronica opened my eyes to last year. I was feeling lucky.

To the west, the walking stretch of the beach ends at a rocky point. The land narrows, and most ramblers don’t bother to go that far. We had been combing for a while, and our bags were getting full, and my sun-kissed partner was wondering when we were going to turn around. We were both getting hungry. But, for whatever reason, I had it in my head that on this day I needed to go as far as I could – I wanted to go all the way to the edge.

I couldn’t turn around just yet.

I mean, I could. Sure I could. And part of me thought that I should. Just turn around, head back to the car, call it a day. Our pockets were full.

But no. I couldn’t shake this little thought that kept dancing inside my head that said: sometimes the best gifts are found right at the very edge.

So I pointed to the big rock at the far edge of the shore, and told my girl that I just needed to make it to that rock, and then we could turn around and head home. Almost as soon as I took my next step, a beautiful piece of deep blue glass caught my eye, half buried in sand. Lifting it up, I grinned: I would never have known that I was one step away from this gem if I had packed it in and just turned around.

In the few moments it took me to reach my rocky edge, I found the three best pieces of beach glass I found all day. When I put my foot down on my goal, the big rock at the far edge of the shore, I held out my hand and took a picture.

sea glass - R.Kennedy

……

It’s just pieces of glass, I know.

But in that moment, for me, it was a reminder. It was a reminder that sometimes I need to take myself right to the edge; a reminder that what is easier is not always what is best; and that sometimes the best stuff is waiting just ahead…but I won’t see it unless I take the next step.

And…just to top it all off…as I turned to walk back from the edge I looked down and found my second holy stone of the day, which is a new record for me. I always thought that finding one holy stone at a time was more than amazing. Apparently this hot, pebbly, sun-streaked shoreline was on a mission to expand my expectations and coax me to my edges today.

As we made our way back to the start, my stone-heavy companion asked with wide eyes how I was able to find my handful of colored tears. I was quiet for a moment…what do I say?

How do you teach someone how to look with more than their eyes? How do you tell someone all that you are learning to see?

……

holy stone - R.Kennedy

 

 

 

incredibly close

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thanks to strangers and friends, and people with knowledge about things that i still don’t understand, this little site is finally allowing me to upload photographs again. it’s been a glitch in my blackbird world, a glitch that has deterred me from posting too much for a while. it just didn’t feel right without pictures, you know? anyway, gratefully, it’s fixed now. and i’ve got thousands of miles worth of photos and stories that i’ve been saving up to share.

and since today is a recovery day from a nasty flu, and i’ve found myself escaping from the heat of my farm field home to a quiet hideaway with a fan and electricity, it seems like a good time to tip toe back into the land of picture-book storytelling and put some color back into these word scrawled pages.

so today i give you pictures.

a handful of shots i took while staying in the shack at Fig Hill this past January, in the green wonderland that is the Bega Valley, NSW in summertime. D was off making a record on far away shores, and i took residence near the chook pen, at the bottom of a steep hill, with the nearby company of dear friends. i packed sewing needles, a basket of cloth, and a few spools of thread and set about making little stitched studies with no other aim but to create something every day.

there is a beauty in the utility of spool + needle + thread that i never tire of. i love that they are tools and materials that have never really changed. they hold stories. they get the job done. they are fragile and durable all at the same time.

they are materials that make sense to me. and sometimes, that is everything.

 

 

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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.

one

two

three

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

pile it up, let it go

1. farm fields at sunset with four-leggeds and best friends. doesn’t get much better than that.
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2. re-arranging furniture…again.there are always possibilities, even in the smallest space. never ceases to delight me. is there a career in that?

3. listening to some Andrew James O’Brien. yup.

4. how does a small life aquire so many things?

5. the birds are singing in your eyes today

6. Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal muffins still hot from the oven. making this rainy night smell so good.

7. i can’t wait till i get to eat more of this:
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8. i have shelves full of books that i’ve never read. i’ve moved them in boxes from one house to the next. i like the way they look. the way they feel. i like the idea of them. but they’re strangers to me still. stories i’ve never met. just covers or titles or writers i thought i might like or want or read.
enough already, rae.
read them or let them go.

9. love.
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10. this season of newness really is a wonder.

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“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

― Kurt Vonnegut

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Louise Bourgeois

“Art is a guarantee of sanity. That is the most important thing I have said.” – Louise Bourgeois

image by Erica Freudenstein

image by Erica Freudenstein

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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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