I made it.  I made it through 2.5 of the most busy, most full, most wild months of my life.  Starting in April, I traveled for photography work, I zipped home to Canada to see my family, we made the transition into the fire season by moving the Airstream up to McCall for the summer, the transmission in our big Dodge blew up in the middle of nowhere putting us down to one vehicle between us (while living in two different places), we bought a car, we bought $500 worth of high quality poop for the gardens here, Robert planted a huge asparagus patch, I traveled for work, I slaved in the studio, I traveled for work some more, we began irrigation on the hayfield, the farm was a revolving door and we had rich visits with many friends, I traveled more…a couple of days ago we wrapped an enormous shoot in McCall and that was that — the end of the line!  I have been extremely cognizant about keeping my schedule uncluttered this summer because last summer nearly killed me, I was stretched so thin by work. Currently, I see my summer months looking relatively wide open, there’s a whole lot of white space in my dayplanner, and I’m thankful I’ve practiced saying no as much as I have to photography gigs and various other work trips.  I need my life to slow down, especially during these fire season months when so much of our life details weigh heavily on me.

It’s weird, this place I am in with work.  I like to go back and forth between the metal and my cameras but flipping back and forth between the two mediums causes so much life chaos.  I didn’t plan to work with my cameras in this capacity, but the experiences I’ve had through photography work have been grand.  I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.  I reckon I’m in my 30s now, anyway, now is the time to have a cup that overfloweth…or in my case, many cups that overfloweth.

My grandfather passed away a few weeks ago now, right in the middle of the truck breakdown, the shift into the fire season (Robert was in the thick of the season refresher in McCall which entails lots of classroom work and practice jumps), we had a gaggle of baby animals at the farm and I was about to leave on a New Mexico shoot I was under contract for.  There was no way I could get home to his funeral and because of the speed of life here, I had to bundle up my emotions regarding his passing and shove them into some empty, echoing chamber of my heart, just to get by, just to get through the month and my work commitments.  It was difficult for me.  I felt emotionally taxed.  I am not repressive by nature.  I feel guilty for not getting home, I worry about what my extended relatives must think of me for missing the funeral, I feel thankful I was able to get home to Canada for a fast visit in March — to see him alive once more, to hug him and kiss him and tell him I love him…

Day by day I am pulling those emotions up, regarding my grandfather’s passing, and sorting through them.  I’m sure it will be a lifelong endeavor.

There’s a lake in McCall I love to go to.  I feel it’s generally overlooked by tourists and locals.  I go there because it’s empty and beautiful and I can be alone with the dogs and hear my thoughts.  The lake is edged by timber and snow capped mountains.  The shore is littered with tattered, water-washed driftwoods.  I often find myself hoping that my heart is like that lake, bottomless and blue and silken to the touch, framed with friendly timber and the enduring grit of granite.  I find myself hoping that the breeze on brilliant sunny days will keep the sapphire pulse of my heart free of debris, clear of log jams and winter killed trees — that those scruffy objects, bobbing and rotting and fading, will be pushed aside by winds and storms.  I hope that there, in the center of that blue heart-world, there is fathomless clarity, undiscovered depths and the sweet seam of mercy that stitches the water to the sky.


  1. may it be so, dear friend….may it be so.

  2. My sympathy regarding your grandfather Jillian. Hugs to you sweet lady. I think this would be harder had the events been reversed. Getting to see home, him and being able to say the things most important, what a gift it was to do so. Be kind to yourself. You are enough. 😘

  3. Rustypinecone says:

    Beautiful post Jillian, you have a gift at expressing your emotions through writing, it’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing🙏🏼❤️🙌🏼😌

  4. nathalie says:

    The most important thing is that you could go and see your grand father before he passed away, it is a gift from heaven to be able to do that, good for him, good for you, a real blessing, may be your relatives understand that you could not make it for the funerals. I love your post, I hope you slow down a little…just a little ahahahaha…and Summer is always busier, the days are longer so we do more and the gardens, the veggies, the everything,thank you for sharing.

  5. Wow, I’m tired just reading about your schedule! My condolences on the loss of your grandfather, there’s a special bond with grandpas that you just don’t have anywhere else. Enjoy your summer and more pics of the babies please!

  6. let it be well with your soul, dear friend. The lake in front of my little cabin is the biggest centering space in my life; the quiet, the concentric circles of a fish rising, the moon swelling over the ridges. Deep breath, exhale, go forth. xx

  7. I am just so happy you got to see your grandfather. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for your pictures of the wild. They feed my soul here in the city. Many Blessings to you.

  8. Don’t worry about missing your Grandfathers Funeral…He was not there…

    He is smiling with your everyday at your life – your adventures. He lives in all your beautiful spaces.

  9. Tori McCoy says:

    My heart goes out to you for the loss of your grandfather. I lost mine two years ago and still think of him everyday. I hope that while you pull up those emotions you continue to stumble on all the fond memories and things that you loved about him. Ill be thinking of you!

  10. Oh Jillian, I’m so sorry to hear about your granddad. My condolences to you and Robert. You’ve had such a fantastic stretch of it, I hope you find some peace and relaxation soon. Best to you and Rob, and may this fire season keep him safely.

  11. I can relate to the 2-medium flip plus the relationship-juggling! You are where you’re “supposed” to be. Thanks for the lovely wordage and photos. Get your much deserved zzzs…

  12. Thank you all.

  13. You have my deepest condolences regarding the loss of your grandfather. Wishing words of peace and comfort for you and your family.

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