lost beauties

there’s a little silver caravan that sits at the end of our dirt lane. it’s a rickety tin box with a tarp over the roof. it’s a loaner from good ol’ Sambo, and for the last couple of years it’s rotated between being our bedroom, our kitchen, and our tool shed.
this year, it’s my art studio.
mmmhmmm. lucky me.

it is perched on the edge of the hill that slopes down to the valley, and when the wind blows, the little room rocks and sways. i always keep the door propped open, just in case i need to make a quick escape in a gusty breeze.
the corner window blew out in the winter rains last year. it’s now just a permanent breezeway.

i have a table that hinges to the wall, adorned with pencil scribbles of roof angles, wall measurements, and wiring maps. my chair is a hand-me-down drafting stool from Miss Anne’s shed. there is a clothesline along the wall, cluttered with photos and findings and notes. the ledges are piled with sea urchins, spools of thread, rusty metal, and beach-combed bric-a-brac.

i love it in there.
somedays i sit until the sun has sucked out all of the light, and my strained eyes just can’t see to sew another stitch. even then, sometimes i just linger and sit. and listen. and drift.

the other day i wandered over to open up the caravan doors for the day…let the cool of the morning move in. i saw something move in the corner. i found not one, but two  little butterfly beauties hanging out in my little art home. they found their way in, but somehow couldn’t remember how to get out. or maybe they just liked it there…smile.

i cupped them, one at a time, in my hand, and walked with them outside, and then i opened my hand and waited…delighted, that they didn’t just up and fly away. one in particular seemed quite happy to hang around. she even spread her wings and flaunted her glory for me. i reveled in it.

i love when the days hold tiny surprises.
i’m not sure there’s a better way to have started my day than a visit to a windy tin can art room that fluttered with lost beauties, and a few rare moments of stroking the fine hairs of a butterfly spine while it rested in the sun in the palm of my hand.

goodness + gratitude, indeed.

a girl and a ‘roo.

today i hung out on the beach with a kangaroo.

a big one. a grey one. probably the biggest, greyest ‘roo i’ve ever seen.
it was a big beach. a wild beach. a pretty much empty beach.
except for me, and the ‘roo…
(and D., but he was having a nap in the shade ).

Mr. Roo was having a picnic on the grasses that lined the edge of the sand by the big rocky cliffs.
I was rambling the shoreline and scavenging for washed up treasures.
i’m pretty sure we were both in our bliss.

we hung out together for a good while. he eating. me scavenging.
sometimes i sat down in the sand and just watched him. laughed at my good fortune. a ‘roo and me taking in the last hours of light on a beach off the Tasman Sea!

i smiled at him a lot. gave a few waves for good measure. sometimes he looked up and just watched me. i watched him back.

i thought about taking a picture. even had my camera in hand. but then i turned it off. put it away. what would a picture prove?
this was happening. in real time. in my time.
the picture would only disappoint.
you’ll either believe the story i’m telling you or you won’t.

a girl and a kangaroo on the shores of the sea.
both aware of the other, both content with their company.

i walked away with a pocket full of shells and a grin even the Aussie sun can’t melt.

bless the day.
i think i might burst.

oh my god.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

– Mary Oliver (The Summer Day)

……..

when i was a child i was taught how to pray.
before meal times. before bed.
in church, multiple times. sometimes in multiple languages.
at weddings. at funerals. baptisms. dedications.
before long road trips.
in hospitals. car accidents. when facing empty bank accounts. any and all uncertainties.
even, in early years, in school, right after the national anthem.

if practice makes perfect, i should have had this nailed by now.

……..

180

……..

somewhere along the way i just stopped talking.
i got tired of hearing prayers said aloud that felt like rambling monologues or speeches; i stopped believing what i was hearing; i had a hard time feeling like any of it really mattered anyhow.
and when it was my turn to kneel and bow, i found myself exhausted by the sound of my own voice. i didn’t want to listen to me anymore, so why would she?

……..

3

” I love to pray at the beach, staring out at the surf and the pelicans, my prayer at those moments ” Oh my God, oh my God.” I try not to bog down on the “my” or “God” part of this prayer. It is the “Oh” that matters, the expulsion of air from the lungs, that occasional gorgeous shock at what tiny molecules of the whole we are, compared with…one of the most beautiful places in the universe.”
-Anne Lamott (Help, Thanks, Wow)

……..

i just finished reading a book about prayer. Anne Lamott wrote it, which is, quite truthfully, the only reason i read it. i trust her. i believe her. i don’t feel like she cares if i agree with her. she has scars and bruises and doesn’t hide the fact that life has been really fucking hard sometimes. she also throws up her hands and says “thank you” a lot, and i really like that.
Anne says that prayer is really just three words: Help. Thanks. Wow.
Spoken to God, or Buddha, or the Universe, or anything outside of, bigger than, ourselves. To light.


” Light reveals us to ourselves, which is not always so great if you find yourself in a big disgusting mess, possibly of your own creation. But like sunflowers we turn toward light. Light warms, and in most cases it draws us to itself. And in this light, we can see beyond shadow and illusion to something beyond our modest receptors, to what is way beyond us, and deep inside.”

i’m not in the same place that she is. i’m still wrestling with things that she seems to have learned to rest in. but i think i can make sense of her kind of prayer. i think i do it all the time, even if i don’t know who i’m talking to anymore.
i can’t do this alone.
i’m so full of gratitude.
i’m in awe.

i live those three truths every day of my life, on repeat.

……..

32

……..

Praying

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.”

– Mary Oliver

……..

life has been teaching me a lot about silence. turning down the racket. tuning out the noise. letting go of the clutter that keeps me from hearing and seeing and breathing and daring and being. if anything like a prayer comes out of me these days, it comes out as a whisper. or a standing-still-ness. or a deep breath.
to you, those may not seem like very sacred conversations.
to me, they feel more true than almost anything else i know.

……..

97

……..

all my life i was told to close my eyes to pray. the child me did what i was told. the adult me feels like we all missed the boat. like it sailed right by while we had our heads bowed staring at our eyelids.

when our eyes are closed, we are not looking. we are not seeing.

i want to whisper gratitude while staring wide-eyed at a glacier, or a sunset, or the meadow in early autumn. i want to smile at the food as we bless it. i want to look at every inch of my little nephew Sam, moments after he is born, and be in awe of the miracle that i was just blessed to witness. i want to see and be seen in the eyes of my lover, or my best friend, or my brother, when i confess my feelings of helplessness, my brokenness. i need to see some version of god in their eyes.

why would i look away?

……..

i’m not finished yet.
good lord, i’m just beginning.
but it’s an honest attempt.
and if i believe anything, it’s that that’s enough.

Anne says that saying “Amen” is the same as a quiet, deep breath.
it means truly. truthfully.
there you have it.
so it is.

it’s not an ending.
it’s just a deep exhale.

Amen.

……..

pile it up, let it go

1. farm fields at sunset with four-leggeds and best friends. doesn’t get much better than that.
DSCN9414

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:
DSCN9049

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.
DSCN9408

10. this season of newness really is a wonder.

a bird in the house

Two Crows by Radiator - Paul Cox Couet

Two Crows by Radiator – Paul Cox Couet

how she got in here
remains a mystery.
there was no swinging door
or open window.

when she arrived i’ll never know.
i came home to the sound of her wings flapping,
her black body, bright yellow beak, soaring over my head
as i climbed the last of the steep stairs to the kitchen.

a curious bird
is all i can suppose.

or lonely, i guess.

and while a bird in the house
on any other day
may have seemed like a problem that needed to be solved,
on this day
of all days
it felt more like a gift.

a story.
a poem.
a something i never expected.

a blackbird knocking at my kitchen door.

so i let her stay.

i gave her space
and i gave her time,
choosing to believe that if she got herself in here
she could figure how to get herself out.

do onto others, you know?
it’s how i was raised.

i left the light on for her
and said goodnight. i think we both slept sound in this little nest.
in the morning i heard the flap of her wings ringing a bell
and i crept out to find her perched on the window
watching me.

a little while later she left,
taking her exit as mysteriously as she did her arrival.

i’ll let you keep your omens and your signs.
just let me have the wonder, the mystery.

give me the story.
the poem.
the something i never expected.

i’m a curious bird
i suppose.

or lonely,
i guess.

give me a blackbird knocking at my kitchen door.

i’ll let her stay.

blink and they’re gone

one hell of a year, in retrospect.

73

80

171

183

210

DSCN5377

DSCN5401

DSCN5914

DSCN6317

DSCN6396

DSCN5641

DSCN5270

DSCN5509

DSCN6510

DSCN6571

DSCN7167

DSCN6733

DSCN6677

DSCN7398

springsteen17

DSCN6820

DSCN6802

DSCN6728

DSCN6884

DSCN7214

DSCN7716

DSCN7801

DSCN6285

DSCN7690

DSCN7917

DSCN7896

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.)

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…

Murmuration

murmuration

...

...

( image courtesy of Face the Wall Studio )

……

standing on the edge of the earth.

3

these days, in pictures.

DSCN1481

DSCN1435

DSCN1686

DSCN1697

DSCN1748

DSCN1761

DSCN1774

DSCN1848

DSCN1844

DSCN1967

DSCN1969

DSCN1992

DSCN1983

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

Subscribe!