A Sense Of Place

I write less and take fewer photos here in California than I did in Michigan. Maybe because any energy or time for communication or artistic expression is already monopolized in other parts of my life. Maybe it’s because I don’t need to work as hard to find beauty as I did in those long, grey winters. One sunny afternoon feels like the next, and my sense of time isn’t as rooted in fireflies / changing leaves / numb extremities / slushy roads / crocus buds.

This year I have been teaching a photography club after school. Maybe “teaching” is the wrong word because mostly I’m just handing cameras to kids and leading them rambling explorations. They climb trees, lie on the sidewalk, climb up into trees, and cluster around any available tiny leaves, unique garbage, cute dogs, and interesting patterns.

Their perspectives on the world make me more aware about my own, as I sift through the digital residue of the last few months. I’ve been in San Diego for almost three years – long enough to have routines and connections, but not to outgrow a feeling of being a newcomer. Pulling up roots can be so fast, and regrowing them so slow.

I love reading novels with a strong sense of place, and after 3 years in this place I have more senses than I have fully formed thoughts.

Cloudy May mornings.
Radio telling me about the texture of the ocean.
The bend of pelican wings above me (not quite echoed on my shoulder blade.)
Jacaranda purple pooling on sidewalks.
Palm trees bending and crackling under jet paths.
Smoke creeping over dry hills.

I can recognize the songs of humming birds & the scent of jasmine.
I am waiting for my lemon tree to produce fruit.

Advertisements

Permeations

Summer! For the last few months I was completely erased by work, and as soon as I emerged and found the bits of my life again it was to take it all apart and put it into boxes.

Now there’s a new apartment in the same new city, open windows and walls that feel permeable, air that feels heavy and skin rubbed thin, borders crossed alone and familiar flight paths overhead.

Last summer was quiet and I had too much time to think. This summer is filled with voices and plans and radio waves and the moments of stillness have been rare. I’ve been teaching a bit (but not Spanish) and meeting new people (in Spanish) and meeting old friends in new places (in Hungarian & Croatian, but without remembering any.)

I’m shelving books by color instead of by contents and writing/remembering/thinking in pictures rather than words (again.)

28246547432_b9c6172431_z28349823515_75fa29ed29_z28348934945_95db7aa627_z28066717530_73f21b2538_z28270463621_4169537ae0_z28271351341_f37a994526_z27733602974_33479b1c9d_z28271361651_fed65d5266_z28350195465_6aa08ba1f3_z28067839790_b0986c8e16_z28271730181_2eea893aa0_z28316385096_d06498fee2_z28271741441_9664b28083_z27733993844_c49d882c85_z27734268283_044dcddd55_z28271415401_1c12c14126_z28316250216_932803b599_z28271599401_5571b0799f_z28416238912_3e19430112_z28065614490_fe6cb8b32b_z27734227353_b5a794f333_z27905470244_11f69ee849_z28271591541_10665f5eb3_z28490281796_a14852684b_z27733997284_1d1546c13b_z28246548342_8cc5a4f1c2_z (1)

Vuelos

I don’t write and take pictures anymore, other than the small pieces that fit through the screen of a smartphone. So it’s March and I am just now looking through the photos I took in December, when we went back to Michigan for the holidays. Winter in Michigan is probably what I miss the least, but I do miss the people there, and the colors that are so bright and surprising in the middle of gray days.

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

La Sara en México

Mexicali 2015During Spring break this year, I spent a week in Mexicali, Mexico, interpreting for a mission team from Michigan. I went on the same mission trip two years ago, after arranging a photo show in a venue attached to the church. (We flew into San Diego, and apparently the one full day I spent there was convincing enough to move later on!) Living in a large camp with many other youth groups from around the U.S., we shared daily meals and devotions before heading out to various assignments at churches and charitable organizations. I was with a group that was running a bible camp at a local church. It was the same church I worked with two years ago, so it was good to see familiar faces. We had daily bible stories that the kids acted out, crafts, memory verses, and lots of time just to play with them. Read more of this post

Desert Colors in Anza-Borrego

We drove out on a long weekend to go camping in the Anza-Borrego State Park. Everything was vast – the sky, the mountains, the press of the sun during the day, the press of the silence at night. I sneezed a lot and only ran into one cactus.

anzaborrego20
Read more of this post

Distances Crossed

(You might be suspicious that I am sorting through and posting photos more than once every couple of months. What are you avoiding, you might ask? Wrapping up progress reports – that’s what.)

When moving from Michigan to California, we contemplated various methods to get two adults, two cars, one cat, some furniture, and lots of boxes across the country. In the end, we decided to sell one car and tow the other behind a moving truck.

Transitions

This involved a very long drive, a very sad cat, some terrifying mountain driving, and the limited food options available when one is tied to a very big truck and a very sad cat. (The notable exception was staying with my sister in Kansas City, and eating fresh vegetables from her garden.) However, I am glad we did this rather than flying out and shipping things. One of the things I appreciated about walking the Camino was the concrete nature of spaces traveled: seeing the hills in front of you as you climb, and the towns you have passed through behind you in the distance. Moving away from our home state has been a big transition, and airplanes still feel too much like magic. (Eyelids close and open to new cities and new climates, spread out below you beneath glass.)

I needed 2000 miles to feel like 2000 miles, and to see the scenery change as we crossed the country to the West Coast: The rain and red-touched leaves of Michigan turning to Illinois fields, Missouri corn, flat empty expanses of Kansas and Oklahoma, the hulking farm equipment of Texas, the vibrant colors of New Mexico, the mountains flattening out into desert in Arizona, and the final sunset over the hills of California, waiting for the coast. We also got to visit family along the way – my sister and brother-in-law in Kansas City, and my husband’s grandparents in Phoenix.

Now those long hours and distances have shrunk back onto a map, and some images seen through a dirty windshield.

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions

Just over the last hill

Postcards from the Mitten State

I often lug my camera around, but I am really bad at sifting through the results in a timely manner.

I have also neglected this personal blog in favor of a new teaching blog. (Knowing my tendencies to neglect my personal life, this should not be a surprise.)

Spring and Summer were both chaotic and emotional, navigating preparations to move and goodbyes to students, coworkers, friends, and family. (And even while looking for jobs in warmer climates I was aware that other states might not have the same magic of a Michigan Spring.) Here are some snapshots.

Spring Planting Day Read more of this post

Since The Last Time You Heard From Me

I’ve spent the last few months languishing in a midwestern winter (and by languishing I mean mostly teaching and driving and teaching and driving) and a few brief explorations of warmer climates. The long lightless days have been tedious and difficult, especially in contrast to where I was a year ago, but looking back from here, they did include important and beautiful things:

Exploring new landscapes, seeing old scenes through new eyes, watching Spring creep up on us, finally opening up windows and leaving them open all night long.

blizzard

Snow Days

winter gold

Frenchies

Hangover Lights

Winter Sunlight

Ypsi Winter

Further Snow Days

Untitled

Mexicali

Mexicali

Mexicali

Mexicali

San Diego

San Diego

San Diego

San Diego

San Diego

commute

Untitled

Indoor Spring

tax day

mornings

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

señales de la primavera

Starla '13

Untitled

Worth 366,000 Words

Worth 366,000 words: 2012 in photos. from Sara Kennedy on Vimeo.

A year of transitions.

Music is as follows (and is available in the Free Music Archive.)

1. J’ai acheté mes bottes en Espagne (I bought my boots in Spain) – Misiaczek
2. Pueblo Duerme  (The village sleeps) – La Barca de Sua
3. Find a Home – Laura Jorgensen

Looking Down On Cities

Last year I did a 365 Project, partially as a challenge to myself as a photographer and partially as a way to document what I guessed would be a year of transitions. As it turns out, it was. I finished my Fulbright year in Spain, traveled on my weekends, walked the Camino de Santiago, got engaged, and returned home to familiar spaces in Michigan to start a new job in Detroit.

Screen shot 2013-01-06 at 12.58.47 PM

Many distances were crossed – by plane, train, bus, car, but sometimes on foot.

I am working on a new creative project for this coming year, but it won’t be a daily photo project – partially because the tail end of the year degenerated into commuting/grading/cat pictures, and it’s hard to measure up to last year’s images.

I had a lot of adventures in 2012. I met a lot of amazing people, and traveled to some incredible places. My favorite parts of my travels were always the times when I climbed to a high place – often at sunset – and looked down on the cities I had spent the day exploring.

I learned a lot about travel this past year, and a lot about myself as a traveler. In the future when I go to a new city, that will be my destination – somewhere I can see the shape of the city, where small individual details dissolve into twinkling lights, and the iconic buildings from postcards become small silhouettes, dwarfed by the sky.

Granada - Ciudad Encantadora

Looking down on Granada from Miguel Del Alto. (Photo by my new Brazilian friend, Carolina.)

Granada - Ciudad Encantadora

Granada – actually in late 2011, but it was the beginning of a year of looking down on cities.

Barcelona

Barcelona, from Parque Guell.

Navidad en Madrid

Madrid, last Christmas.

Paris

Paris, from Sacre Coeur in Montmartre.

Roma

Rome for Easter.

Roma

Ancient Rome

Pompei

The ruins of Pompeii

Naples

Naples

Senderismo en Jávea

Jávea / Xávia

Tabarca

Tabarca – not a city, but a small island off the coast of Alicante.

Senderismo en Calpe

Bird’s Eye view of Calpe, after a harrowing climb up the Peñón de Ifach.

Morocco

Marrakesh, Morocco, from the roof of our riad.

Aït Benhaddou, Morocco

Aït Benhaddou, Morocco – you have probably seen it in a movie.

Morocco

Not a city – but the Berber tents where we stayed in Zagora, at the edge of the Sahara.

Among all of the beautiful cities, my favorite was Alicante, where I lived for 10 months and that I often looked down on, from the heights of the Castillo de Santa Barbara. Nostalgia always adds a cast of golden light, but it was a beautiful city. Someday I will go back.

Santa Barbara

Sunset.

Tour de Alicante

All the lights lit for Christmas along Alfonso el Sabio.

Alicante

La Playa Postiguet, full of sunbathers.

%d bloggers like this: