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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

june 27.

Write about the storm blowing in, the way it stirs up the air and shifts everything. Write about the waiting, the anticipating. Write about the warning signs and the things we do to prepare. Write about the grey skies and the moody wind and the chill that has settled in.

Then write about the cup of coffee you made in the shipwrecked mug that Glen once gave you with a spider plant potted inside. Write about how the plant died, and so did Glen, but the mug remains one of your favourites.

Write about the two candles that you lit to break up the grey with flickers of light. Write about the scent of the strawberries sitting in their green basket beside you at the table.

Write about the hummingbird at the feeder with a water droplet on her tail. Write about the butterfly who drowned yesterday in two inches of dishwater, the same butterfly who rested on your arm while you were bathing earlier that morning. While you’re at it, write about the posey of flowers, nearly dead, in the blue vase to the left of you. Explain how even in their dying there is beauty evolving.

 

the path between two houses

granny + me

 

i’ve been missing that laughing lady a lot lately.

how long has she been gone now? 5 years? 6 years? i stopped counting.

but still some days i wake up longing for her company. sometimes i close my eyes and try to remember every detail i can about her:

like the way she clapped her hands with happiness + the softness of her skin + the way she kept finding new things to talk about so you’d never leave the room + catching her in the bathroom without her teeth in + the book and bible and scrap paper and book of crosswords that always sat beside her in her chair + the kleenex stuffed up her sleeve + her smile + the childlike glimmer that stayed in her eyes + her laugh + the way she always listened and always wanted to know + her love that left no room for doubt…

the more time passes the more i seem to miss her. as though my growing up makes the space she left behind grow too.

memory is a strange animal. grief an even wilder beast.

……

there’s a path between two houses

you used to run it as a child. barefoot, eyes closed, your bones knew the way.

it was a path from home, to home. it was the way that lead to everything you need.

there’s a path between two houses that runs across a piece of land that tells a story so deep and so wide, no passerby or outsider could begin to understand. you were gifted to this place. it has taken up residence in you. this is a truth that can not be severed.

like a winged migration, sometimes the change in season calls us home. sometimes the longing takes over, the ache becomes almost unbearable.

sometimes if we close our eyes, our feet will find their own way home. soles pounding through long grass, past big trees, taking us eyes-closed, wind-through-hair, barrelling down the path toward exactly what we need…and only our bodies will wake from this blessed dream.

our wild, grieving, animal hearts will  keep on running, will keep on moving toward the outstretched arms of our belonging…

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

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.

keep a light touch

i don’t know how it all works.
there are things in this world, moments in this life, that leave me amazed, in awe of the mystery.
i can’t explain the happenstance.
the coincidence.
the crossing of paths.
i have no words for why that persons words/presence/touch/song
resonates
more
than another’s.
why they find me/i find them at the exact time
when i really needed them.
i don’t know why.

i just know it happens.

again and again it happens.
in big ways and small ways.

today it happened in this way.
a poem.
by a woman who i’ve only barely met
but whose words have found me in perfect timing
ever since the first day i laid eyes on them.

it’s like she knows me or something.
it’s like she saw me this week, in that storage room, packing and unpacking boxes,
hitting the floor,
remembering joy,
receiving the gift,
feeling the pinch.

it’s like she’s been there before
and she knows what it’s like
so she wrote me a poem
so i wouldn’t feel all alone,
so i would again be in awe
of the
mystery.

it worked.
….

things

When the moving man comes with your boxes, the ones a storage unit
housed for the seasons between then and now, keep a light touch
on the stories they carry. Some will gift you back the pieces of yourself
you hadn’t thought to miss and spread a grin to your solar plexus, a knowing
that certain things – thank God – will never change. Then there will be
those that pinch an unfamiliar nerve, splitting the length of you to pieces,
and you will wonder how the trek you made not that long ago
could have rendered an estrangement of these sweet intimacies keeping you
cocooned to comfort. Be kind to that history of yours. It brought you here,
tromping up a new set of front steps, breathing this lucid, tender air.

Maya Stein

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Madeleine L’Engle

“Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”
Madeleine L’Engle

image credit: ken lewis

image credit: ken lewis

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…

meeting the world.

When silence becomes words. When words become a sentence. When a sentence becomes a letter stamped and sealed in an envelope. When that letter becomes an invitation, and an invitation becomes departure, and departure becomes arrival. When arrival becomes the first hello and the first hello becomes the second. When the second hello becomes a kitchen stripped of all theatrics and artifice. When a stripped kitchen becomes flesh and flesh becomes bone and bone becomes the beginning of everything that’s real. And when everything that’s real becomes love and love becomes more love and more love becomes a hum skimming above and below each breath. And when breath becomes peace and peace becomes hope and hope becomes awake and awake becomes meeting the world as if you had never been so alive.

– Maya Stein

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.

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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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