Once I wandered

my wanderings from here to there.

Month: July, 2012


I think the way that I have been feeling the last few weeks can be defined as stir crazy. Mentally, I’m ready for Guatemala, I’m ready to make that trip and to help where I am needed. Monetarily, well I’ve fallen short, October is right around the bend, I’ve only made/collected 10% of my goal. But it’s no way out of the equation, I just need to give it time and keep saving, I’ll get there.
In the meantime, I’m here, and to be honest this summer is just slugging by (I’m sure my kids would disagree). I’ve made suggestions to my family about camping and going for drives and what not, but their hearts are not in it. So, I’ve settled by the wayside watching the sun race across the sky and signalling the close to so many days that could have been doing something. I’m happiest when in motion.
I watched a film the other day about 2 men who, like me, had the determination but not too much of the hiking skills, and they walked the Pacific crest trail. I thought they were crazy, I still do. But it inspired me. Why am I sitting here? Because my husband likes his Ipod and the kids are scared of bears? That’s silly. Just because they don’t want to come doesn’t mean I can’t do it. Well, not the PCT………yet.
There is another trail, shorter (by half) 1200 miles. That extends from Glacier to the Olympic mountains. It’s called the Pacific Northwest Trail. I’m by no means ready to hike something so long but I can be by July of next year, I might not make the whole journey, but I can try! And Maybe I’ll have done Guatemala by that time to.
Big dreams and big goals, I know, I know. But if I don’t have those then there is nothing to try for and I’d rather fail at big goals then never have anything at all.
So, I have one year. Here is to day 1 , I believe my first step should be just taking a nice fast paced walk. Water anyone?



Of all the stars and all the planets, of all the forms and shapes I could have been when I was put here, I sometimes wonder why it was this one I was put in. Sometimes, dreaming can be so challenging. I feel like I could just give up, I think of how simple it would be to lie there, letting the grass tickle my legs watching the world from a bugs angle, watching as the sky spins by relentlessly on it’s simple task of turning dark to light. I wish I had that ability, I wish I could just take all that is wrong and make it right, create myself a dawn that I could sit under peacefully and just not think.

Something is missing here, I don’t know what or where I will find it, but I can sense now that a clock is ticking somewhere in the back of my mind it clicks relentlessly, counting down the days, hours, minutes until whatever it is, finds me. In my mind, I remember a moment from my childhood and there is giggles and laughter from the two of us (my sister and I), I still taste the sea spray as it lingers as a fog over the shore. I can feel the sand, each fine grain scraping against the next between my toes, I can feel the temperature as the gentle breeze kisses my skin. High in the air above me there is a kite, Red with a yellow band, it twists and turns excitedly, out of control but kept up there by some unseen force. And my sister, tiny fingers grasping the air as she ran across the Oregon beach, the rocks in the distance, the sunlight, the green cast of the trees, everything…I was happy there. It is my place, my place of hope, my place of tranquility when the world around me cannot be. When I cannot force my camera to think for me. I close my eyes, let the tears come, tears for a past I didn’t choose but I lived, tears for each moment I can’t change but learned from and tears for moving on and not looking back, and as my eyes slip shut to make this reality go away, I see that moment.

My heart is filled with sorrow, I feel like I keep reaching with a warmth that will not be returned. I feel myself more and more reaching for that place to get me through each ache. When I was a kid, I was always the last to the metaphoric parade, As an adult I think I was just late growing up. Some of that was intentional, I loved the thought and the feeling at looking at the world through new eyes, If I could look each day and see the world as a different place, then all the hurts of the day before are cleansed, all the wrongs forgiven and forgotten, and that is how you move on. You just see with the love, the trust and the honesty of a child. Reality comes hard, it’s not like a scrapped knee or cut finger. It’s like a paper cut on the space between your finger and your thumb. It burns and it lingers, you wonder if it will ever heal, no reassuring scab to know it’s healing and it’s just there stinging and glaring and not letting you forget. And it’s those moments when it’s the hardest to see through to the other side.

Tonight I’m missing the people in my life who have been my glue and are not here anymore to hold me together. I feel needy, not a typical trait for me and that feels even worse. Ick! But I know it’s a moment. Tomorrow the dawn will come and I will greet it with the same vivaciousness I have in the past, the dark hours will be forgotten when the sweet amber glow climbs above the horizon and gives the warmth I was needy for. But as it does that clock still ticks. I wonder what it is I am waiting for.

The Light in My Life.

I think I am most like a few people when I say storms scare the crap out of me, but it also stirs a curiosity in me, I love the wildness of a storm and the pure untamed beauty that goes with it. Lightning and storms are, after all, my favorite natural subject.

A Moment.

A moment, can be defined in time, or emotion. It can be a memory or a dream or it can be your reality. It can be frightening or it can be bliss. Yet it can never last forever, but it can be delayed, through images and footage. It can be brought back in a voice, a smell, a song or a poem.

Tonight, I shared a walk with my family , to a high point in our town. A top the hill stood a gazebo and there an “older” couple sat watching the sun traverse to it’s goodbyes. I wondered what they spoke of, did they speak of dreams? Did they speak of their own moments or did they let their emotions pass through fingertips that were hidden from view. I took a few shots of their moment and stood pondering, will this be me and my love? Will we sit patiently awaiting the sunset basking in the glow of our memories? As I wondered, another couple walked by, they were young and new, they held hands in the open and she giggled as he spoke, but she looked at him with the newness of a love just discovered. I took a few more shots and wondered again, was that my sweetheart and I when we were new? Did we shine, even in the shadows of a July evening? All of it was so personal, but so freely given to the viewer. I walked away believing that it was an exceptional moment with the elderly moment in the shining sun and the young couple silhouetted. And then I realized, My husband and I were very much a part of the moment, though we were not in the pictures. We stood between the two couples holding hands, taking in the moment, the couple who has beautiful memories, yet still enjoy the newness of our love, we are secure in our life together but we have yet to “do it all” . I wished then that I could have been a photographer, standing behind all of us, to reach out and capture the passing of not only a moment, but the passing of time.


I am, Life is.

I am….
But a leaf on a breeze on a crisp autumn day, I rise in a breath of bravado and tumble down in a slow wistful decline.  Falling from my heights to become one of the many. I am the answer to my own questions, the knowledge of my own mysteries and only I can control who I am and what I feel. Though, at the same time I am the sum of my history, tiny pieces of a world that has brushed against my essence over 34 years.

Nighttime, it is my thinking time, I turn on a song that begs for my spirit to soar with it. I think about each of those tiny pieces, I turn them about, fitting them next to each other, a collage of colors, of smells, tastes and emotions. I think, about what defines me, what eludes me and what becomes me. And I think, that I am so small in such a large world. I watch as others, strike out on some journey for the answer to life, (which of course is 42….). When I (we) lost Steven, I had often wondered the same thing, losing someone so suddenly and tragically often makes one have a need for more, a need to have control, a need to know the stuff of which they are made. I did too, I clawed angrily at walls that seemed confining and then I screamed and cried and I seemed to go nowhere but down.  It has been 3 years since that day and I have learned in that time, that I do not want to know the answer, I am content with the question. I am happy to see the light before the dawn as it paces itself slowly above the hills in the east. To watch the little pieces of wheat in the rays of the golden sunset slowly move across golden fields.  There is a pulse to this life, which when ignored can become a race. It’s beat slow and steady, it breathes in and exhales to each quiet thump. It is nighttime, when I think, but that is when I can hear it, the pulse that runs through not only these veins but through each thing around me. I believe, I have been sleeping, and I am waking now to find this simple, yet amazing world in front of me.
Everyday a new adventure  a chance to start again.

The other day, I sat on a park bench before a session, I watched as the ducks floated on ripples across the river, as sandpipers yelled at each other on a sand bank, as I took it in, I noticed an interesting plant as I came closer I saw an ant rushing across a leaf  in his hurry to procure food, I watched as he rushed by a couple lady bugs and disappeared into a leaf fold. My attention turning to the Lady bug as it turtle paced up the stem, my eyes drawn to the small aphids and larvae on the leaf and stem, one place, so much life! And all living with the same rhythm, the same pulse. I was awed and reminded that this is what , Life IS.

Montana Ablaze.

I’m not sure what it’s like to have a summer without wildfires, for as long as I can remember in my time in Montana, there has always been “fire season”, It has always created the hallmark amber evenings of August, kissing the golden grass with a deeper honey colored stain.  Every now and again, The season comes early, the land becomes dry , the late days of Spring feel like those of a hot summer and it is on the wind. You can feel it, smell it even. The people will chatter about their predictions and then a silence falls upon the land, the earth takes a shuttering breath and everyone waits. It’s the first big one breaks out and there are camps of volunteers and firefighters along back country roads, each camp bustling with activity. Nearby ranchers move their herds and the helicopters fly low for a water pick up.  It’s not unfamiliar in our Montana.

What is frustrating is the lack of respect, from humans. Believing that they are exempt from the laws mother nature has imposed,  They are careless with flame and sparks, fireworks and cigarettes, In our town alone on the 4th of July we had 24 fires. That is in an area of a 10 mile circumference. It’s worrisome to say the least.

But still when it comes to the nature cause fires, one must think, this is about renewal not destruction, that after the earth takes a breath, she looks about and sees cluttering underbrush and dead trees, she uses fire to renew them.

As I blogged from Townsend last week, the afternoon sky turned the color of sunset and in the distance I began to heat the tell tale thuds of choppers. I walked to the end of the block and there not 2 miles at most away was a wild fire.  The indian creek fire only surmounted to 500 acres before mother nature sighed and opened up a rare heavy thunderstorm (for the area) and left the air heavy with the smell of damp smoke and yet, the whole place felt refreshed.

The image with the helicopter is a story of it’s own, but in brief it of a rancher moving his herd to a safer location while the helicopter dips water for the fire from a nearby river.

Images are copyright of Tatjanna miller @ Onceiwandered/wordpress.com or Tatjannamiller.com please link back if you wish to use them. Repressing requires no permission to use.

Tilt+Shift, not just a photography thing.

I’m sorry, but I won’t be sharing any photography until next week when I receive my laptop charger in the mail. It was one of the numerous things stolen from my vehicle  while attending the independence day parade here in my hometown. And while yes, I am incredibly upset, sad and quite possibly feeling violated, I now understand that everything has a reason, even the bad stuff.  I probably come to this realization once a year or so, but I guess life believes I need a reminder and indeed I think we all do. I need to taste the sour to completely understand the sweet as in I need to occasionally have something entirely rotten happen to me to really, truly appreciate the amazing people that surround me.

Obviously, the stealing of my gear was a major tilt, it completely caught me off guard, I tend to see the good in people to see the beauty of it all and I really try hard to ignore those flaws that i see as perpetual human traits. So to be violated in such a way, really irks me. I have never taken a loan or accrued debt for my business, each piece of gear I own is worked for , saved up for and earned and it has taken a long time but I feel like I am finally “doing it” , so you can see why I am so bothered.

But it also brings a shift, a better understanding of what is around me and the capability of realizing that when I am at life’s mercy, life will always show me why I am there. Today 3 people from the local photography community quite literally helped me keep my business going. 1 loaned me a flash (so I may still photograph a wedding this weekend) one loaned me a charger for my camera, without which I would not have been able to as much taken an under exposed image! and the other loaned me not 1, nor 2, but 4 lenses to be sure that I can cover the wedding the right way. I am humbled and completely thankful, while to some these actions may not seem huge, to me they mean the world, because each of these items assured that I would be able to continue my job with very little interruption.

I have been told the Great Falls photography community is uppity, I beg to differ, I completely think those who say so are out of line. When another business takes a blow, each of them could have turned their backs and instead they each made the choice to help me along, not limping but walking. I truly believe that this is a terrific and awesome community.!  I also do not want to leave out those who offered me to use their items, but they were covered. The mere act of extending the offer means more then they can know. And to those who reposted my status and tried to help me locate my gear, to Officer Dilly who went back and searched as well, and even to the people who went above and beyond to get me back online, Thank you so much.

Sometimes life will TILT…. But it can be great if you just make the motion to SHIFT.

Happy independence day, My camera gear was liberated by a thief. :(

Ahhhh Independence day, where we all celebrate our freedoms and liberties, with patriotic parades and fireworks. It was at one such celebration, that someone felt that my camera gear and most of the electronics in my vehicle should be liberated and celebrate their own freedoms. So I am reduced to 1 lens and a camera body, no flashes, no other lens, nothing and they stole my laptop charger too. So this is how my very patriotic day began, with the liberation of over 800.00 worth of gear. Thank you dear freedom rebel who believed even electronics need to be freed. 😦

Amid the clover.

One of my favorite spaces to be is a place called Ryans Dam, located approximately 11 miles from Great Falls, Montana, it’s a majestic scene of both the old and the new. However, here, I won’t be discussing the history. In fact I will be focusing on just one little part of the area and I do mean little. Amid the rapids and turbines, lies a small island part covered in rocky cliffs (a love of the rattle snakes and bull snakes of the area) the other part covered in small grassy hills and clover. To reach this spot you must cross a suspension bridge and if you can brave the swinging and shaking of it, you’ll come to this tiny slice of heaven. One of it’s more popular inhabitants is the Desert cottontail, widely observed in Montana, it makes this sweet little guy no less cuter. And this one was ready for his close up!

Virginia City, Montana.. A walk back in history.

On Saturday we took a day trip from Townsend to Virginia City Montana. Virginia City was the capital city of the Montana territory before it’s statehood in 1889. However today it is a “ghost” town. I use the term “ghost” loosely, because really it’s operational and a pristine example of life in the Victorian era in Montana. Some of the empty buildings have been preserved as museum rooms, while the better buildings have gift shops, restaurants, candy and clothing stores in them. There is an operational stageline and horse back rides as well. Many of the store keeps, wear period clothing to add to the charm and realism of the era. While the term ghost, may not be totally appropriate the phrase “a step back in time” truly is.  A little gem of a find for those who are not familiar with Montana’s history and the nooks and crannies who can’t self tour the host of amazing ghost towns in the state.

As with every tourist area, Virginia City has it’s drawbacks in the pricing area. Definitely NOT the financial woes of  theme parks and big city museums, but for a local girl the prices seemed a bit steep for what I wanted to buy. However, the proceeds go to keep this beautiful little community alive, so I suppose the drawback can be seen as a plus.  I would think you could have lunch, enjoy a horseback ride, have a cola on the honesty policy and take home a trinket or two for around 60-70.00. We skipped the Montana trinkets, but couldn’t pass up fresh salt water taffy and candies from my childhood at 10.00 per pound.