An Alphabet in Four Parts – I

Straight as Soldiers

Don’t Fence Me In © 2010 Bo Mackison

This is the third annual edition of my End of the Old Year-Beginning of the New Year.  An Alphabet.

It’s another mish-mash of ideas, dreams, reflections on both the past year, and on past lessons, some learned, some learned not so well. There are a few to-do’s, some to-hope-for’s, gratitude for the many blessings in my life, and heartfelt good wishes to all for the coming New Year.

An Alphabet, 2010 – Part I


ABRACADABRA.  Do you believe in fairies and in magic? I would LIKE to believe in magic, but I’ve learned over my many years here on earth that, in most cases, it’s hard work that works, not magic.


BUMBLEBEE. A few years I was told a story about how a bumblebee is a most unlikely insect, too heavy to fly with its tiny un-aerodynamic wing set-up, and yet it does. Later, I read this was all hogwash, that a bee most certainly had the proper body parts for flight. I rather like to believe the first story though, believe that life and living does exist on the very edge of possibility.

C is for CANYON.

CANYON. Once upon a time, a couple decades ago, I went camping with my family. We stayed in Colorado National Monument in western Colorado. Sherpa, and my teen-aged kids wanted to go on an ambitious hike descending to the canyon floor, starting at above 6,000 feet of elevation and dropping to near 5,000 feet, with a series of switchbacks that made it seem like the crookedest trail in the world. Not too many problem going down, of course. But coming back up was a totally different proposition. The kids skipped ahead, leaving Sherpa to toss me words of encouragement as he hiked 30 feet further up the trail. I was not a happy camper, nor was I a happy canyon climber. But no one was going to get me out of that canyon except ME. One laborious step at a time. I do admit to saying more than a few cranky words as I hauled myself up the switchbacks, but I eventually hauled myself to level ground. Yep, the old one-step-at-a-time tale.

D is for DUMPSTER.

DUMPSTER. I carry a “dumpster” in my pocket. All those negative thoughts, all those words that hurt my feelings because I am way too sensitive? They get tossed in the dumpster. If I run into a really difficult streak, I write down all those thoughts that twirl in my head and ceremoniously stick them in my dumpster pocket. And, no, I do not re-read them. When I’ve had a run on negativity, and my dumpster is getting full, I do a ritual to get rid of all those cranky thoughts. Sometimes I “throw out” the contents of the dumpster by gluing the paper pieces upside down in my journal, and then writing or making art right on top of them. Poof. All those thoughts transformed!

E is for ENERGY.

ENERGY. This past year I have found a huge well of energy I never knew I had. All because I am doing something I love to do – photography. And the amazing thing,  as I do more and more with my photography, I find I have more and more energy to get things accomplished. It really is true. If you love what you do, if it makes meaning in your life, it makes the doing easier. Not easy. Just easier.

F is for FEATHERS.

FEATHERS. As in impossible. Take a feather pillow, unzip the cover, and shake all those fluffy bits from a third story window. In a tornado. (The Midwest is well-known for its tornado tendencies.) After the feathers have flown halfway across the continent, word comes down from the Big Boss that the pillow needs to be re-stuffed–with the ORIGINAL feathers. Impossible. Life is like that sometimes. The task ahead of you is utterly impossible. You study the available courses of action and pragmatically decide, no matter how hard you work at the solutions, a re-stuffed pillow is simply not going to happen. The problem has to be re-examined and either solved a different way–perhaps acquire NEW (improved) feathers – or the problem has to be set aside and not solved at all. Sometimes, there is wisdom in knowing when to change courses, back-up, or simply stand still and take deep breaths.

Part II,  Gardens through Minute Rice

About Bo Mackison

I’m a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place – a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I’d love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It’s my gift to you.


  1. A dumpster in a pocket…what a great idea! I think I need one of those.

    Love today’s image — and title!

  2. Great Alphabet. I enjoyed last year’s edition and I look forward to the rest of the 2010 version.

  3. You have used your energy well this year, Bo! Your accomplishments have been commendable. It has been a good year!

  4. Joanne Keevers says:

    Bo, what a wonderful idea you have come up with…a mish-mash alphabet. F for Feathers is my personal favourite. The wisdom of knowing when to let go of the old choices and try out new ideas. You are a very wise lady.

    Happy New Year to you and your family. 🙂

Leave a Reply