And so a week came and went.

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A lot can happen in a week.  I said yes to a last minute shoot in Northern Washington two Fridays ago and buzzed all over Idaho, Montana and Washington on the way to and from the job.  I didn’t mind the driving because I was in a mood to see fresh country.  The shoot was beautiful, in a lovely location at a ranch on top of a mountain.  It was horse heaven.  The crew was good company.  It was a great time.  I was modeling on this job, not shooting, which is occasionally an uncomfortable thing for me.  I have to deal with some self-consciousness in front of a camera (which might come as a surprise to you since I use myself as a subject so often).  I think the best models tend to be vain — or aware of their physical beauty.  I just feel awkward, crooked and strange looking most of the time.  That said, my favorite thing about modeling these past two years has been how much I have learned from the photographers I am being photographed by!  There are so many tidbits to absorb.  It’s a great learning experience for me and I put into practice the trade secrets I have learned on a regular basis.  Being around great photographic talent tends to breed new skills in me, if I maintain awareness and ask questions (and I’m never afraid to ask questions).  Anyway, great crew, great location, stunning horses and a great all around time was had on that shoot.  I’m glad I said yes.

After we wrapped, I drove the Columbia to the Spokane to the Coeur d’Alene to the Clark Fork to the Bitterroot to the Lochsa to the Clearwater to the Salmon to the Little Salmon and then I was suddenly home in McCall.  It’s a marvelous thing to follow roads that bend in synchrony to the will of a river.  It’s one of the few times in life I allow myself to joyfully follow the path of least resistance.

I stopped here and there on the trip home: coffee with a girlfriend in Missoula, fishing pocket water here and there on the Lochsa and Clearwater, pausing to watch the salmon spawn (rotting and exhausted from the strain of their endeavor — dead and gone on the banks of the river, eyes in the bellies of birds), breakfast in a shabby diner or two, sleeping fitfully in my tent on the edge of a rapid (rain staccato on the fly of the tent, logging trucks grinding at high speeds through the black of night)…

I like to lallygag.  I like to forget about the destination and slowly make my way through the journey, exploring whenever I can.  My friends and family know to expect I’ll arrive in their homes or at our meeting places anywhere from two hours late to three days late and I’m unapologetic about it.  It’s how I stay in touch with everything around me.  It’s how I stay in touch with my curiosity.  It’s how I ask questions and find answers.  I arrive when I am good and ready and not a moment before.

I’m off to hunt for elderberries here in the beautiful, autumnal Payette region.  Robert comes off a fire this evening and I can’t wait to see him.  I’ll plan a nice dinner for two in the Airstream and maybe even pick up a tiny tub of ice cream and a nice bottle of gin for him.  We’ll probably stay up late dreaming about what do with the farm and ourselves in the next couple of days, months, years.  I love this time of year.   Autumn is for dreamers.

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  1. The lands you see are BEAUTIFUL. Thank you, again and again for sharing. Was so pleasantly surprised to see you in a “canoeing” magazine my dad mailed me (Though its not REALLY surprising because your photos should be printed in all the things.) XO
    Read some Mary Oliver last night- made me think of your musings. Also- please find and check out the “kids” book Wild- by Emily Hughes. The main character may in fact be your spirit animal.

    Love from the already frosty North!

    • Rian,

      It’s already frosty here in McCall!!! I’m in moccasins and a coat this morning, inside the Airstream. I love this season and am headed out in a moment to pick elderberries and maybe bag a grouse, if Farley will help me out.

      The interior West is really just outrageously beautiful. I am continuously aware of how lucky I am to live in Idaho and to be able to travel for work (and play) as often as I do.

      I am delighted you saw that photo in the canoeing magazine! I’m popping up everywhere these days. It’s pretty fun.

      I’ll see if I can find a copy of WILD. 🙂 Thanks for mentioning it. Hugs for you and the babe.

  2. This season speaks such hope to me, in dying we find life. Wool socks with my chacos & mint tea made with the last of my herb garden- autumn is a gift. enjoy these golden days!

  3. *yes* to everything. simply :: yes. [especially those faerie horses. and feeling crooked.]


  4. Autumn is exactly the time for dreamers- we plan for next season, reaping and storing the bounty of this one.
    No frost here yet, wishing for some slow steady rain.

  5. gorgeous photographs, simply gorgeous and the text.. everything is gorgeous!!!!

  6. I know you have your struggles, but you live so fully and openly, it’s enviable. Your photos and your words always make my heart swell, endless inspiration.

    • Thank you, Rebecca. A girlfriend of mine once told me this about herself: “My life is a result of good decision making.” And I think I can say the same about mine. It’s not perfect, and you’re right, I do have my struggles, but I roll with the punches and I don’t know how to give up. 🙂 I am so glad you are here.

      Meet everything this week brings you with a tenacious, courageous heart! XX

  7. Michele LeBlanc aka rustypinecone😁 says:

    Awh! I am in love with that photo of you and(I want to say Farley, but it might be tater🤔) the colours are A.mazing!

  8. Michele LeBlanc aka rustypinecone😁 says:

    Oh darn, that is tater, Farleys butt is much whiter eh lol

  9. I love you! And the stories you weave.. and the photos… my what a beautiful country 🙂
    I wish I lived your gypsy life xo
    Be well take care of you and your lovies. xo
    Sherri From Canada

    • Thanks lady! I’m glad to be firing up the old blog again. I have a lot of stories from summer to tell you guys in this space — I couldn’t make time for it in the hot months, but now that it’s cooling down a bit, and the end of the fire season is in sight, I am feeling like I can get back to it. 🙂

      Love having you here!

  10. Catherine Chandler says:

    Gosh! That first photo, and that last one. Wow. I love the colors in the first–it’s like the perfect palette. And the power of the light rays in the last. The other night, while I was driving home before sunset, I looked to the West and saw these insane “God rays” (that’s what I call them at least) shooting out from behind fluffly clouds. I think there was almost-invisible stratus clouds in the sky because it lit those up, but only those. It was the most phenomenal thing and oh, how I wanted to capture it…but I was on the freeway. So, I just kept looking (safely), and enjoying this amazing miracle, until I turned East towards home.
    p.s. Loving the changes to the website. I explored it the other day and it’s all laid out beautifully!

  11. Gorgeous photos as always, Miss Jillian! And what a great trip – I have a friend in Wyoming that always wants me to fly there so that we have a couple extra days to visit – but I love a road trip. From where I am now it takes me across big open plains and skies and I can’t wait till the next time. There’s always a point where I have to pull over and just throw my arms open wide to the space. Then I get to the mountain country and I can barely contain myself! LOL
    I love Autumn, but to me, it’s the life, not the death of things. All the little seeds have dropped into the earth and the unspeakable power of global germination begins – EVERYTHING just gets to work – churning, planning, growing on such a deep cellular level that the crispness of winter just fills me with energy, knowing all that is going on. All those new fish, and elk and deer and bear and plants and rivers growing, growing, growing.

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