As you may or may not know, Carol Kennedy passed away this week.
I’ve known Carol since I was a little girl, but it really only hit me this week just how much she had inspired me. I hadn’t really ever thought about it before. Through her photographs, through her community work, through her whole demeanor and way of being, she showed me the way to be a woman who is many things: strong, compassionate, artistic and community-minded.
I was lucky enough to be part of “The little school”, a Waldorf school on the Meadow Road near St. Ann’s, in the mid-nineties. Her sons went there. All the kids who went – all, what, eight of us? – were a tight-knit group, almost like family. I was there for the five or so years the school existed, and it’s a huge part of my childhood memories.
The parents of all the other kids were a loose kind of aunts and uncles to me. They are all part of my firmament, the cast and characters of my life. Just there – being who they are.
So I guess you could say I’ve kind of taken knowing Carol Kennedy for granted. Until this week, at least.
And that’s when I stopped and realized just how amazing her artwork was and still is. (It’s really amazing.) And just how brave and determined and yet fun her whole spirit was. How she hosted parties. How she said hello. How she ventured forth and took things on.
Carol was showing me, ever since I was a little girl, exactly what was possible, for an artist and a woman: anything she dares to try.
I wish I could have told her that.
Two weeks ago, before Carol died, and entirely unrelated to her, I went for a walk around my mother’s garden, just to enjoy the evening and take some shots for the blog. But then for some reason I decided to switch over to black and white. I wanted to mix it up a little, and see what textures and patterns I might see in the otherwise all-green garden.
I edited the photos and drafted a blog post, then scheduled it for today. Then Carol passed away. And I realized I would use the black and white pictures as an homage to her.
Another strong woman who has been inspiring me all her life is my mother, whose garden this is. From one of my favorite books, “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens,” a collection of essays by Alice Walker:
“Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect for strength – in search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.”