“Hammock Happy” blog here.
Slow it down to speed it up.
Breath {self-scenario}
Red Sky Mining



Those who love you, will love all of your dimensions…blog here.


“Out of Range”
Sometimes they whisper…
sometimes they scream,
on the border of my dreams.
But I was misunderstood,
heart-soft, and obscured
by my naive rain.
A trade off for pleasure in pain…
for what I didn’t see, didn’t know.
If I listen will they help me grow…
out of this nonsense-sense mind of mine again.
To feel alone in time knows no end,
So I listen…
Listen to them,
those are the lines.
They bend again…
and again.
The branches align…
with the sweet sap they bleed,
from a view where I can’t see.
Their sharp splinters were shed,
because nothing was said…
Until it’s too late,
and I just didn’t see.
Out of range.
Out of reach.
Filling the years,
breaks and holes and tears.
Above it all…
the branches…
My Guiding Lights


She Said
She said she’d stay, and soft and steady she ran.
She said she can’t… she said maybe she could again.
She said she’d speak, and just listened anyway.
She said it’s okay, her words have another gateway.
She said it with full bated breath…
and fingertips pressing the back of her neck.
She said it without turning around to connect.
She said it in a silent scream with her face in the floor.
She said it in thoughts that never wash ashore.
She said she’d no longer let these ties trap her.
She said they’d let go when she sidesteps their shelter.
She said she’d no longer be held down by her hand.
She said she’d fly until it felt better…
and she never found land.
-Natalie W.
Blog post with full size photos here.

The Confines of Escape

Wandering a monochrome dream,
she feeds coins to a vintage machine.
Trying to follow her one line in and one line out…
To silence the sound of no sound above the ground.
Breathing heavily…
She barely breathes…
Her slingback shoes have broken down,
her Cartwheel hat flew miles to another town.
Barefoot and ahead of the rain she jumps in her Alfa Romeo,
like a sparrow with a broken wing tries to fly…
within the shadows and the confines of her heroes.
The sky above more classic than her car,
spares a ray of sun through the gray and narrow…
Slamming the brakes and gunning the gas pedal feel one in the same,
and each turn brings her back to the same firey escape…
of being a portrait of blame in her bedroom rain.
While this storm sleeps at night, she does not…

Hell…o…hello…the machine mimics the devil and the gentle.

Still and on hold for the transcendental,
as ticking turbulence connects the lines…
At last the morning murmurs find her,
inside a winding and rusty stairwell,
and old grays awaken and color her poem.
Free and flanked by feathery winds- her closest home,
she stares at war pigeons flapping their wings farewell.

-Natalie W.

Plastic Mary
Sitting among white static
A portrait of the oldest plastic
Young Mary Magdalene
Feeling fine with her so-called crimes
Her mind dressed to the nines
Leaving behind her old tattered prayer
The Seven demons in her hair
Pulling out the truth and lies
As her soul slips side to side
Reading washed up scrolls from ancient tides
Wayward she roams through the desert sand
Alone in thought, she takes her only stand
Above the stories that always change
She lets them be but without her name.

-Natalie W

“The Shores of Port Clinton” blog here.


“On the Road: Phoenix, AZ to Lakeside, OH” blog here.


Fourth of July, 2017 blog: here.



Black Sheep

Saw your face through a teary window
Said you couldn’t sleep
That you fought the day
And lost in the rain
Talk talk talk to me
Hey what’s the matter
You were born in the space between
A black sheep
Awake and cursing the chatter
That sound you’ve learned to drown
Sometimes and again
Still you told me you could hold together
Its easy to see, because you know
And it makes you laugh
Never wanna mind your manners
Dancing in everything you handed her
All cattails swirls and sweet sassafras
Pushed up against guard rail ghosts
They only let you pass once
Clever boy you better jump on in
Because that shape won’t hold its place long
It’ll hold you to it, and lose itself
And depend now on you to belong

-Natalie W



Buddha Beach: Blog


Last Rays Percolate: Blog

Shades Like Hazel

Reaching out your hand of stone

Digging in that vast boneyard

For the remains of those who trust

They bury your lies while you roam

But in time broken bones heal

Together harder than before

And echoes of sorry turn to steel


And was it just so easy

And so very simple,

For you, for you

Because I wanted to believe

I wanted to believe

in shades like hazel

in shades like hazel

But without vision…

Without love…

It was just so easy

And so very simple


Falling deep into those strange days

Where now no sound plays and plays

On a lost staircase, in an unlocked closet

My new shelter made from the shock…

It wasn’t my weak knees, afraid to fall

For the fool in me, and the fool in you

It wasn’t just my weakness after all


And was it just so easy

And so very simple,

For you, for you

Because I wanted to believe

I wanted all to believe

in shades like hazel

in shades like hazel

But without vision…

Without love…

It was just so easy

And so very simple

-Natalie W.

***A note about my Instagram accounts***
It’s been almost a year since I created this instagram account: @natalie_a_wheeler.  Several years prior to setting this one up, I was using my alternate @actnaturallyphotography one exclusively.  I thought that my personal, often strange/experimental photographs didn’t fit in with what I was posting at @actnaturallyphotography.  If you want to see shiny, happy pictures of my children or Cuba street photography, you might not want to see pictures of my eyeball, or maybe even my face-especially if it looks moody or intense. I realized lately that that was ridiculous for my purposes, not to mention a bit exhausting.  Every picture I post is a reflection of my immediate world and vision.  And honestly, I  know better than to try to divide myself and my art up for whatever audience I feel is most appropriate.  I am one whole person– a loving mom; an artist; a lover of light,  shadows,  music, shapes, color, ideas, words, travel, culture, and passion.  This is a space where you will find pictures that reflect the fact I am a mom (a very grateful one!), but also a WOMAN, and like all other women, I have many dimensions to my life and my soul.  I have no plans to use my other account anymore unless I start taking on client work again.
Stay tuned for my up coming  summer roadtrip.  After our time in Ohio, I will be hitting the road with my guy to visit some pretty awesome places: Nashville, Atlanta, New Orleans and Austin to name just a few.  There will be many photographs of our travels to share here. Peace & love!


Falling down…a reminder of our fragility and vulnerability . Healing…a demonstration of our resilience and strength.



That Look is Reserved for Me

That look is reserved for me…

The One in a field of faceless faces,

moving in a million broken pieces.

My breath sways in a cascade of fits,

every time… that look hooks my darkness.

That look is reserved for me…

I know….nobody but me…

I know….what it does to me…

That look is reserved for me…

The One that strikes a stillness in my pulse,

unmoving me in a state of paralytic bliss.

Words and fears leave in a long lost kiss,

changing never to forever, we found someday.

That look is reserved for me…

I know….nobody but me…

I know….what it does to me…

-Natalie W.


Ceiling to the Sea
Won’t someone tell him please,
can’t someone tell him he’s
caught on the ceiling of the bluest seas,
but he’ll form together again in water faraway.
Just like the warmest, arching ocean wave
he’s bathing in reasons to wake another day.
Won’t someone please explain,
can’t someone tell her she’s
turning the forest trees against the rain,
and forever she’ll be tethered to that unfailing flame.
Curled up in lonely fire made wild by the wind,
she is, he is, with no beginning, middle or end.

-Natalie W.


I wrote a little thing yesterday in a waiting room.  The photos came by night, unable to sleep….around 1am by using only streetlight coming in my bedroom windows.
Waiting Moon
You…you…find me like this, and I’m sorry
You…you…love me like this, like I’m worthy
And for all I know, I can’t comprehend it
And you’ll never make me understand it
Chasing me down that silent street
my streetlight shadows outrun my feet,
and I’ll trip again on that unsteady tightrope
For every heart just born beats with hope
to find and escape love’s jagged arrows…
Feel it…
Feel it…
that cold anger made from a blanket of warm sorrow
You…you…found me like this, and I’m sorry
You…you…loved me like this, like I was worthy
And for all I know, I can’t comprehend it
And you’ll never make me understand it
The wind brings storms, then the dead calm
Then I….
Then I…
I can’t help falling into the stars’ strong arms
I can’t help falling into the sun’s warm chest
Waiting to be caught by the moon
Where my love rests
-Natalie W.


“You can dance in a hurricane, but only if you’re standing in the eye.”  -The Eye, Brandi Carlile

The Tear

I got to hold her in my arms again, after so many years

No longer of flesh and bone, she’s free to find me

In my dreams…for a few too short moments she’s there

It’s an unbearable heartache when she disappears

I can’t let go, so I hold on and hold together the tear

My mind finds a way to give me what I miss, what I need

So that deep sorrow upon awaking will soon let up

And I will feel real gratitude that she came to me.



Lensbaby Love: Hiking with Clouds and Tunes. Click here for the full blog.




She Is…

She’s arriving…
She’s arriving at the door of recycled words.

She’s locked out…
She’s locked out…side the confines of time.

She’s in tune…
She’s in tune with her broken wings.

She’s climbing…
She’s climbing her house of cards.

She’s clinging…
She’s clinging to clouds that hold her hand, and catch her falls.

She’s calling…
She’s calling for the koi to swim her into the deep.

She’s lying…
She’s lying under clotheslines of warm blankets and sweaters.

She’s sleeping…
She’s sleeping to dream through every alcove of her soul.

She’s dancing…
She’s dancing with ghosts, barefoot in the desert sand.

She’s listening…
She’s listening to the songs of nature’s soft and sharp spell.

She’s wild…
She’s wild and burned out on life’s rational.

She’s loving…
She’s loving as each breath brings her all that’s possible.

Forest of Fate

The world inside once dormant, ignites,

yielding to karma’s everlasting night.

Seasons circle in the forest of fate…

Everything as intended, without escape.

The moon between branches aligns

souls in a cocoon of limbs, entwined.

Through leaves, rain, flowers and snow;

lips, petals, water, and wombs will

Let go.





I wonder what you will see, if you close your eyes, and listen to the words by clicking above.

Motoring Adrift

After holding back her head and losing all her heart,
those echoing beats still blink and swerve.
In a hangover of fallen leaves where the grass is no longer green,
what will sustain her?
Hens with jagged elbows poke, over and over,
her soft earthen autumn feathers.
Shooed away with a steady stomp and stormy exhale,
this day un-taped her muted mouth with an easy finger.
Her last call a shot of whiskey, straight,
and a refusal to be made a mechanical audience member.
End of scene, CUT, time’s wandering and a-wasting…
she’s out the door for cowboys who are never always late.
Slow and hard unknowns and bound to the bizarre,
her boots bust down every barbed wire gate.
Thorns and spurs fall from her skin into swallowing sand,
Her desert band-aid clings to pain but is boldly barren of hate.
A ravaged and defiled smile reveals her desire for miles and miles,
to forever go and go and just go.
She greets each stop sign with a surly scowl,
and motions to yellow lights the bird hello.
Her knees steady right angles, pushing the pedal,
through the blindness of clarity she flees.
Soaring past spiraling devils in dirt blowing
the tumbleweeds’ settling seeds.
Her engine sprints zero to sixty in under five seconds,
wheels, like wings, unwind every burden.
Her fallen eyelashes escape the wind,
unmoving and suspended in the golden rays of sun.
Motoring on a destination-less route,
a road where every dream is adrift and all around.
She is not the only sound, but she is the loudest,
at least that is how she wants to be now.

Hear Me Now

Hear me now, I’ll not be silent or still…
lonely or left alone.
Down a long road, so many years ago…
fortune threw me a megaphone.
Hear me now, your burden is mine…
but I’ll not cry for it on my own.
Lights turned low, but I’m louder still…
darkness won’t shelter my sound.
Up the highest peak, feet swept in sand…
fingers pulling the clouds.
Lights turned low, the curtains are closed…
I’ll not scream but I’ll say it out loud.
Hear me now, I’ll take part of the stage…
it was always yours and mine.
Lights turned up, but I’ll not turn away…
I’ll not turn away from me this time.
Across the lines, eighty-sixing what’s done…
but not on a dime.
Lights turned up, so bright you’ll lose your mind.
Hear me now, hear me through the storms and sun.
Hear me now, hear me through everything…
everything that makes us alike and like no one.



“I’ve got my orange crush….”



Final Smile




Perpetual Parade

Our minds are tame but our souls are so strange.

We watch the wild sun burn up love’s setting facade,

as the day walks away, into the night’s starry stage.

Everything moves along in the perpetual parade.


“Everything and the Kitchen Sink” blog can be found here.



Short Story, “Love is a Continuum,”  can  be found here.


The refusal to be made a mechanical audience member.



Between the Frames, Inside the Tracks

Focused on light-beats between the frames
Veiled in vain to disguise she’s still the same, yea though she’s ever changed
While self-prescribed tracks are dosed by the singing stereo
Echoing the vertigo traps of circular thoughts
Warm hands and soft tears never rival robots
Inside her there’s no game, just an animal finding the wild
She slings her laughing lassos with static smiles, too blue to mock
Never holding still for the darkness, looping around and around again
The sounds in the songs are her eternal clock,
repeating a softer still stinging earth to comprehend.

-Natalie Wheeler



Mirror, by Slyvia Plath

“I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful-
The eye of the little god, four cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. 
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.”


“Night rise
Like the evening prize
In a turnstile backwards we fly

Cold bones
Tied together by
Black ropes we pulled from a swing

Little one
Just a little way
Today all of the dreams are waking

Can’t stand on crooked legs
I’m cross-eyed to the wall
Will these harbor lights

-Beck, “Little One” Sea Change


“If I could make the world as pure
And strange as what I see
I’d put you in a mirror
I’d put in front of me
I put in front of me.”

-The Velvet Underground

Subliminal Liminality



Lost in Lines

Silent Sounds



Exploring Edges

Shadow Patterns

Ceiling Street


This series of photos was inspired by some of my all-time favorite song lyrics:

“Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything,

That’s how the light gets in.”

They are from Leonard Cohen’s beautifully haunting song “Anthem.”  These words have been a reminder and a source of strength for me many times in recent years.  Indeed, chasing perfection instead of embracing our flaws, would be misguided and pointless.  Our imperfect is what has immeasurable value and makes each of us like no one else.  Perhaps it is also worth considering what we letout through those fissures. We are all cracked and so are our surroundings, nothing and nobody is whole:

“You can add up the parts

You won’t have the sum.”

-Anthem, Leonard Cohen


Fever-free and happy to be healthy again.

….that the universe works in tandem with inverses. It’s life’s see-saw splintered thighs and calloused hands, with a smile spread across the face.


The Gray Attic, 1989

A short story/stream of consciousness.

For the full story click here:

“Maybe my bonds are aberrant in how they are so few and very visceral, but I will gladly remain naive and put all I have in too few hearts if that’s what will take me beyond the surface and into the deep.”








Ok….why in the world did I take selfies in the bathtub?

Well, that’s where I was at the time.  I have found that holding still always seems to give my mind the best chance to be busy.  I was thinking about how crazy the political climate has gotten, and how we all have so much stuff in our own personal lives on top of that.  All that stuff that’s going on… how does it makes us “feel”?  For the emotions we have within, how many can actually be seen and recognized?  I have a terrible, really, the worst, poker face, and I’ve been feeling a lot of everything more intensely than ever, so I thought I’d see what kind of emotions I could get out of myself in a few minutes time.  I thought about different scenarios and took the pictures, and this is what came out.  Our expressions and emotions are infinite.  And what I find so fascinating about portraits is that the most subtle change in the subject’s thought, or camera angle is noticeable and can never be exactly seen or replicated again before disappearing. 

***Stay tuned for part 2 of this bathtub series: “Laughing Therapy: Many, many distorted mouths and crazy eyes reflected in the bathtub faucet.”***




Grieve. Be sad if you are sad. Let your heart fall and break.

Close your eyes. Clench your fists. Be still and silent. Cry thoroughly.

Rest your exhausted bones and soul.
Rise and reset.
Pull up every strength to the surface with your deepest breath.

Hug those you love for a long time. Make them smile. Make them laugh.

Make something. Use your vision, your hands, your words, your heart, your soul.

You are needed. You are love. You are life. You are everything.



Never the same as the moment before.


Eye light through an inky eclipse.







Harvest love.


The repose of never holding still.

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Fortune in a Fist

She will not rage because there is no right,

choke it all down, swallowed whole inside.

Licking her wounds like a cat in the night,

the moon carves a crescent on her wrist.

shadowing the empty fortune in her fist,

she will curl up, scratched, in her mountain nest.





The id in free fall.





No Navigation

Dazed inside infinite doorways of doubt,

no no no, it can’t be, it’s not her, she’s me, I am her.

The compass is pulled apart, broken down.

Navigation is a cruel mess in this town,

where everything is only what you want to see,

what you want it to be.

What was understood is impossibly real,

so the signs, in their profound certainty,

reroute back to doubt, instantly.

Hands feel naked with nothing to hold onto,

looking for a pulse….rubbernecking for a pulse.

Unmoving in the traffic that the mind creates,

the mouth is taped, the tongue is in braids.

Only in the depths of sleep, speak is easy,

and the last silent word floats away.




She’s a Fish

Surfacing from miles down a salty sea,

Formed before highways mimicked trees.

Hold your breath they say…

You’re from a different place,

Where all that glitters is blue,

Here only to pass through.



Youth’s blanket disintegrates, triggering a weight with rapid pulse.



Dungeon Girl

Snatched away from her world,

to spend time as a dungeon girl.

Kept away, hidden from light,

plan the escape tonight.


Time goes by, year after year,

learned to hide all her fears,

knowing she can’t stay forever…

Think of something clever.


We all know her as dungeon girl

She didn’t know it’d define her

for the rest of the world.


He’s all she knew and it’s a lie.

He was distracted, she reacted.

She took her only chance,

Ran like hell and blocked his advance.


Escaped from the dark but the light is still gone,

she’s living life as The Dungeon Girl.

Hiding out, never will be found,

Hell bound under the ground.


We all know her as dungeon girl

She didn’t know it’d define her

for the rest of the world.




She sheds her thickened snakeskin

From among the beam in black waters;

Laddering stars to reach the altar of Hermes,

Where his fickle breath takes her again.


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Sea of Stains

Her arms awry in an intangible embrace
Unsheltered in the storm of a singular place
Hands turned anchors in her sea of stains
Letting the waves whitewash the sane

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Us but not ourselves.
The intangible but seen,
Glimpses of the universe
In between.

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Light hooks dark.

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The absence of light is powerfully present.

FullSizeRender (9)


Broken Eleven

Quietly heard but not seen
So are you listening
My bones are betraying me
Failing me, failing from long ago

Get closer to me
I know you can’t though
Fall to the floor now
Go and sell off my limbs now

Eleven, broken eleven
You were a felon
You were a felon
Can she give it all back

Get closer to me
I know you can’t though
Fall to the floor now
Go and sell off my limbs now

Sell my limbs now




High Driveway

Our driveway up on the hill,
Going up lets me be still,
looking to the streets below,
the space that holds my rope.

On our high driveway is where we want to play.
Our high driveway is where I want to stay.

Basement 45s elevate the sound,
circles spiral and I can feel it all,
up here my mind’s not so loud,
reaching up in the clouds.

On our high driveway is where we want to stay.
On our high driveway nothing’s left but decay.

The place over there is full of dolls,
we saw when we walked the halls,
children screamed and babies called,
furry allies lost and ripped away.

On our high driveway is where we want to lay,
Oh, high driveway, don’t, don’t, don’t take me away.

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Pipe Dreams

Bending to the wound, all it consumes

A stone’s throw is far to move,

When pipe dreams become machines,

traveling inside the unravelling.

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Dark delusions and suspended conclusions
Footsteps pacing the lines of loneliness
An iris tracing the path of a soul
A misanthrope with a chokehold
Thinks it’s enough to be alone





Monster Rocket

My jewelry box is full of your lockets

So don’t talk to me about your deep pockets

And your so called monster rocket


Your words ring…..out like trumpets

As you’re draggin’ me ‘round town

Baby you’re only missing a crown


Monster Rocket

Monster Rocket

Moster Rocket

Lift me from the ground


Stop talkin’ to me about your regrets

Do you even remember when we met?

Way before….your private jet


So stop talkin’ to me about your deep pockets

And your so called monster rocket

Because I don’t care about your boat

….or where you dock it

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