Owyhee Field Notes: Part One

While hunting last night the wind came up like a cat-of-nine-tails, raking at the grass, ripping at my vest and the damp corners of my eyes, turning the steel of my gun to ice. It was as good a place as anywhere to do my confessing, there in the spareness of tumbling and towering volcanic stone, there in my uplands cathedral.  I muttered my darkness aloud to myself and the gale ripped the words from my mouth, proving their smallness, lifting the viscous spit of my black emotions into space and dissolving the wet muck of my soul somewhere in the great distance or dashing it to smithereens against the grit of dry stone. I felt the righteous violence of the air; God’s great spirit slapping my cheek while gently taking my hand to lead me forward.

The raven came over on stiff wings, tacking hard against the wind, feeling the impossible angles of the currents with every inky feather. I raised an open hand toward him, I saw him look my way and respond to my summons.  He drew nearer.  I spoke my prayers, bright and pure, up into the winter air and watched as he grasped them in his curved claws, carried them higher into the heavens, to deliver my praise, my joy, my gratitude, my hopes to Whom they are intended.

The clouds dropped lower, encircling basalt buttresses in ether and wisp, shrinking distances and time. A skittering of snowflakes clunked across my nose and cheeks, the hard snow of the uplands where everything spends its lifetime in toil, living so hard to thrive. I stood up straighter, my burdens dissolved. We walked on.

There was a coyote in a draw, barking at the dogs like a fellow dog, teasing them, teasing them for their tameness, occasionally breaking into a yipping howl to reveal his true nature.

He was just a wild little whelp with fleas on his ears.


  1. beautiful post, just what i needed this morning to remind me that although i am only a speck in this vast world, my prayers and growlings are heard.

  2. You truly have a way with words. B-E-A-utiful!

  3. Lovely!

  4. Beautiful writing . Nothing like bird hunting in open country with dogs. My bird dogs getting a rest for a week or two. Time for moose here in Newfoundland

  5. I was transported and utterly inspired with that ~blast~ of a windy post!!

  6. Now that is beautiful writing.

  7. Your words fill my heart. XX

  8. This sounds like a page out of a classic victorian novel. I’m ready for a blanket and a cup of tea and to curl up by a fire and read more.

  9. Beautifully written. I love that I can so often imagine myself in your shoes, with the way you describe your experiences.

  10. Your writing has a way of bringing me back home. For so many years I have been turning to your words because they fill me up – with courage, with inspiration, with longing, with truth. They help reconnect me to myself. To what every breath is all about.

    I wear your wolf over my breastbone. I see your pictures everyday in my instagram feed. But it’s your words here…in this deep deep well of truth that is this blog, that so consistently anchor me again and again and again. Thank you, Jillian. May you never stop writing your days. May you always choose to keep letting me in. xx

Speak Your Mind


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.