Conversations with…

DSC_5355a mountain goat.

He did not speak.  There was no need.  His presence was enough.  His gaze spoke wonders.  He probably thought that I was nuts, but he did not move.  He sat there contently and listened to me speak.  I remember not what I said, just that for and hour I had a conversation with a mountain goat.
DSC_5303bwThat isn’t really lyrical. It’s actually true.  It was an early, early morning on my last in South Dakota.  I hadn’t hiked my favorite trail yet.  That of Little Devil’s Tower.  I also had not seen a mountain goat yet.  By this morning, I had about given up on seeing these bigfoots of the Blackhills and I had hiked so much by that day-I was a little hiked out. Still, I couldn’t fight this overwhelming “need” to make the hike.  So, I made the drive to Needles Highway and through the Needles and made my way to Little Devil’s Tower.

As I got out of the car, I made the executive decision to leave my camera behind.  My camera had practically been glued to my hand the entire trip…I wanted to be in the moment.  As a self-proclaimed photographer, I should no better than to leave my camera in the car. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Little Devil’s Tower trail is not really for the weak hearted.  It’s about 1.2-1.5 mile but it is up hill and considered strenuous.  I don’t know if I would call it strenuous, but it is definitely a little challenging; especially, at 530 in the morning when you have spent your entire vacation walking trails that are miles and miles long and exposed to the elements.  I was in my element, but man that trail makes me work for it.

I was about a mile in, I think…almost to the top where all the trails meet (there is more than one way to get to the top).  I was tired, my joints were getting the best of me, pretty sure I was sweating even though it was not at all hot and then I see it.  I glanced to my right down, past the Cathedral’s trail and there he was sitting upon a rock with many of rocks between him and I.  DSC_5340Bigfoot.  No, I kid, but these guys-it is about like seeing Bigfoot.

I climbed, I maneuvered, and my way over to him as close as I could get.  I was on one rocky hill and he was a couple feet away from me on another.  I sat and looked at him. He sat and stared at me.

I had a sense of peace, which I know sounds funny-but I was at ease.  We had in silence for a bit and then I talked a little bit.  Ate some snacks.  Talked some more. Sat in more silence.  At that point, I started to realize that I really wish I had brought more than my cell phone.  I debated about going back to my car for the camera, but it was a long-long way back to the car.

If I went, would I even have the energy to make it back up?  Would he even be there?  I had to take a chance. I mean, did I really want to miss this opportunity.  The cell phone pictures I had decided to snap were just not going to do him any justice.  I climbed, I maneuvered, and I worked my way back to the path and ran all the way back down.  That 9 weeks of working out six days a week really paid off that day.  I made it back to my car and grabbed my camera.  As I headed back to the trail, I looked up-man, it was a long-long way back up that trail.  Off I went.

DSC_5338To my surprise, there he sat when I returned.  The sun was a little higher, but he was still there.  Staring at me contently once again.  And once again, I made my way over to my spot.  We talked some more, he allowed me to take some pictures, and after many of minutes passed, I decided to leave him be.  I said my thank yous and my goodbyes. I then make the wonderful maneuvering and climbing back to the trail.  I was not far from the top, but I debated about just heading back down.

I stared at him a few more minutes and looked up to the tower.  Mountain goat, tower, down the trail.  Finally, I decided that I put too much work into it just to go back to the car. I made my way up to the tower.  After more climbing and maneuvering, I reached my destination.  It was well worth the site.  That picture will come at a later time, but I also discovered that my buddy the mountain goat was not alone up there on those rocky inclines.
DSC_5376There was a fourth closer to my buddy, but I couldn’t get a good shot.  That is okay, because I think the ones that I did get made up for it.   They definitely made up for me going up and down that trail twice.  As did my conversations with a mountain goat.

Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography



Traveling Alone

DSC_0044 (2)~I travel alone. Not because I have too, but because I choose to do so.  I travel alone. Not because I do not love others, but because I love myself. I travel alone. Not because it is better to be alone, but because I am capable to doing so.  I travel alone. Not because I weak, but because I am strong  enough to do so.  I travel alone, because in all that is glory is freedom. The freedom of being wild and taking with me only what I need to survive.~

The lone boy.  In all his glory.  Him and  the others. I sometimes wish that I had half of their agility and grace.

I hope you have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography

Morning Light

There she stood upon her 39th birthday
Staring at the ocean before her
So many things that led her to this point
She knew not the decision she would make

The wind was crisp against her skin
Waves cold against her feet
Sun warm against her face
Sensations as broad as the emotions she held

So much anger
So much pain
Tears upon tears
Defeat long taking over

She closed her eyes
She took a breath
The moment was upon her
She took a step

Not sure of the time that had passed
When she opened her eyes
Years had gone by
Little fingers played with hers

She looked down and smiled
Then over at the eyes that smiled back
That day never left her mind
It kept her moving forward

Had it gone the other way
Would have been the weakest choice
What she chose
Made her stronger for the moment

She looked upon the ocean
Smiled  with contentment
Life is what she had chosen
Life is what she got

Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography


DSC_0370 (2)-2She looked at the picture every time she passed.  It sat there where she placed it all those years ago.  A simple picture that said so much. 

Every now and then she would stop and stare, but for the most part it was a quick little glance.  The memories were still so fresh and the pain jest. It had been so many years, she thought for sure by now it would be in the past.  It should have been, but no the tears would still fall. Flooding like the river every fourth of July. 

She is not sure why she chose to stop this Sunday.  Maybe it was the early morning sun gleaming off of the dusty glass.  Maybe it was the pain in her heart when she woke up.  It could have been the sound of his voice whispering in her ear or it could have been that the time was now. 

The simple picture looked so odd.  The vibrancy of the color had long gone.  The dust-covered the frame as much of the glass. Both looked as old as she.  With the sun, she should not see the picture.  The glare hurt her eyes.  Yet, she could see it. Mainly because it was engraved in her mind.  Nothing more than a flower. A  purple flower against an old wooden fence. 

He had taken her there everyday.  They would sit against the fence and talk about their dreams.  That seemed so cliché, but it was how they would spend their day.  That day of the picture was to be no different.  She had a picnic lunch, he a purple flower.  They walked to the fence. He was so lost in thought.  When they finally sat, it was there in his eyes.

They said nothing. They didn’t need to.  He took out his camera and snapped a picture.  She thought it was of her.  They continued to sit in silence until the night came on.  Then they slowly walked back to that old farm-house.  He stood there on the steps and she on the porch.  Their hands held tightly to each other and their eyes met.  She knew when he kissed her on the forehead that he would not be coming back.  He had no choice.

Next morning when she woke, the envelope was upon her bed.  She opened it to find a purple flower pictured in frame.  The note he wrote stung her heart and she could still read the words to this very day.

“Remember me when I’m gone. This picture is so you don’t forget. Look at it when you’re sad. Look at it when you need me most. Look at it and remember what it means…my love for you will out live me.” 

The next time she would see him would be in uniform blues.  The flag would be folded and handed to his dad.  She swore never to love another. It seemed unrealistic, but her heart was broken. 

It was not a promise she’d keep, but the love was not the same.  Now here she stood in the home that she had made. That old farm-house where her soldier knew her first.  Her life had been ample, but her heart a little empty. Now she knew her days were limited. She had past her grace.  She was not sad.  She knew she had seen it all. Living the dreams they had shared all those years ago.  It had kept her strong and now she knew on that early morning Sunday that she would seem him soon. 

She blinked her eyes. Then smiled one last time.  Staring ever so softly at the picture that had faded as much as she. 

Montana Rose Photography