Monday, January 30, 2012

My Drive to Work

Everyday when I drive to the sanctuary and on my way home, I take in the landscape like a deep breath of fresh air. I study the view looking for photo opp’s, dreaming out compositions in my mind and patiently waiting for just the right light, skyscapes and clouds to develop. 

The valleys are golden with antelope, black angus cows and deer. They look like freckles sprinkled through the hillside. I wish I had a stronger lens to capture the details of their beauty. 

The driveway to the sanctuary is a mile long and filled with critters. I drive by the sheep and straight out are the horses that call the sanctuary home.

Theres no mail delivery where I live. Its too rural and roads have a speed limit of 70mph. I stop to pick up my mail at the post office on my way home. One day I ran into a well known local named Henry with his dog Puck; they go everywhere together on Henry’s four wheeler. Doesn’t every small town have local a legend like this?

I enjoy reflecting on the day filled with the gratitude I have for being in Montana, while scoping out the skies for sunset shots on my way home.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


On a chilly morning, a young soul made her way down from the high rim rock basin of the wild horse sanctuary. She strolled through a rickety old gate the gusty winds blew open the night before and into the bunkhouse yard like she had been there a thousand times before, where she peacefully grazed. An angel tapped me on the shoulder whispering softly, observe the moment for it is truly the gift of experience. 

I poked my head out the door and there she was grazing quietly to her heart’s content. I listened intently while she snipped off blades of winter grass, each bite snapping, frozen from the crisp winter air. Keeping an eye on me, she didn’t seem to mind my curious amazement.

The air smelled fresh, expanding my lungs with each cool breath drawn in and out, hanging in the air like steam from a geyser. My eyes never felt wider than in her moment. I sketched details in my thoughts, the grey blue and pink winter sky, the slow ceremonious lighting of the sanctuary’s horizon. 

I floated on my toes towards the yearling, Canon in my grip. The meek filly, took two steps away from me, but was not afraid. I respected her wishes and kept my distance. Sitting back with my lens, I savored the moment, my soul soaring to a height of joy that was incomprehensible before this day; bottling the encounter to carry with me for the rest of my life.

A few hours later I received the news, my cousin was no longer in pain; cancer granted his freedom and sent him to a better place. Tears rolled down my face as I reflected on the serenity of the dawn and yet I couldn’t help but smile. 

The filly that came calling that morning wasn’t just any filly, she had the markings of a tricolored Medicine Hat horse with two blue eyes, a treasure to the Native Americans. A Medicine Hat horse is believed to have special powers to protect its rider from injury or death in battle. Those with one or more blue eyes are especially prized.

Was it a gentle nudge from above? Or a mere coincidence? You can draw your own conclusion; either way that young, wild filly came into my morning and soothed me on what would have been a sad beginning to my day. 

Horses are inherent healers thanks to their intuitive nature. When in the presence of horses or mustangs, I can let my guard down and not worry about any awkward feelings I have about myself. Instead, I find an inner peace that begs for the right words to explain my emotions, something so beautiful that only the experience itself could make another understand. The tender touch of a nuzzle heals and soothes my entire being, like a warm gentle rain washing all doubts away.

A fellow photographer told me that photographing mustangs changes how you feel in your heart about all horses. Photographing mustangs has taught me to slow down and breathe in the essence of their beauty, grace, intimate herd dynamics, and a deeper respect for their freedom.