6th Annual Photo Alphabet – Quilt to Trees

Q is for Quilt.

Crazy Quilt ©2013 Bo Mackison

Crazy Quilt ©2013 Bo Mackison

This quilt was sewn my great-grandmother and her sister in the 1890s.

There is a good deal of feminine ancestral energy in this quilt. Unlike many crazy quilts of this age, this quilt was sewn using scraps of velvets, satins, and other more decorative fabrics.

Two of the older sisters in the family, and their husbands, owned the millinery shop in town. The four younger sisters had access to all kinds of fabrics, not just the more common muslin and woolen cloth.

This quilt is decorated with embroidered flowers, animals, mini landscapes of hillsides, trees, and lakes. Some of the pieces are painted — more flowers, ferns, intricate baskets, rabbits, storks.

This is my inspiration quilt, a quilt that encourages creativity.

In a time when farm families were large, and all of the family members put in long hours of work, my great-grandmother and her sisters spent their free evening time sewing quilts. They sewed not only the practical, utilitarian quilts, but each also worked on their crazy quilts, their art quilts.


R is for Red Tail Hawks.


Soaring © 2013 Bo Mackison

The red-tailed hawk is a messenger bird, the catalyst, stimulating hope and new ideas. It reflects a need to be open to the new or shows you ways that you may help teach others to be open to the new. It teaches the balance necessary to discover your true purpose of life.
~ Ted Andrews in Animal Speak

I first noticed the constant presence of red-tailed hawks last spring, sipping my mid-morning coffee while standing at the edge of my back arroyo.

A soaring hawk would circle, round and round, over the arroyo, and I would admire it as it swooped, caught the thermals, glided, swooped again. Later that same week, I set up a temporary writing space at a picnic table in the Tucson Mountains, overlooking Brown Mountain, a mountain side of saguaro cacti. Again, a single red-tailed hawk did its swoop, glide, swoop as I write, and watched, in the desert.

Over the next months, I saw these hawks constantly. They are a common bird, the most common of hawks, and I enjoyed watching them in their aerial performances or as they perched on a pole or in a tree.

It was not until I began my 2,000 mile drive across the country, though, that I began noticing the hawks in more atypical circumstances.

My first day of travel, when I had not yet developed my traveling routine, a noticed the shadow of a large bird on the highway surface.

It hovered a few car lengths in front of me. The bird followed the road quite a distance, then flew off. I caught a glimpse of a red-tailed hawk from my window. Several hours later another hawk appeared, flew in a low circle near the road ahead of me, then disappeared.

Over and over, I would see red tail hawks. I felt as if hawk energy was accompanying me on my northeast journey. I saw red tails in the Badlands. I saw them along the interstate through South Dakota and Iowa. As I crossed a bridge over the Mississippi River, finally heading into Wisconsin, a red tail hawk dove in a head down swoop from the edge of a limestone bluff, then skimmed the river.

After crossing half the country in the company of red tails, I researched hawks in Ted Andrews book, Animal Speak, The Spiritual and Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small.

The entry for the red-tailed hawk totem spoke of energy and vision.

It spoke of the need to seek beauty and harmony. It spoke of the need for balance and the expression of a fully creative life. It spoke of being open to new experiences.

What an inspiring message as I journey into new territory!


S is for Seeded Earth.

Seeded Earth

Seeded Earth © 2009 Bo Mackison

Seeded Earth.

The little blog that started everything. A little blog of photographs, with much of its focus on photographs and descriptions of living things that grow from the earth. I have added to the blog as the years have passed, built a small business on the foundation of the contents of the blog, yet one of my main focuses continues to be on nature and her many gifts.


T is for Trees.

Redwood Abstract

Redwood Abstract © 2013 Bo Mackison

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” ~ Pablo Picasso


Compelled to stop, I am unable to walk past this tree without pausing, walking through the brambles and understory until I stand next to this giant. Rest my hand on its bark. That’s all. Just rest my hand upon it, and connect my pulse with its pulse. Sap beat. Heart beat.

I think. I wait. I breathe. I peer into the uppermost branches.

My feet are grounded on the earth, the tree is grounded in the earth. I run my finger through along the ridges and the valleys of the wood. I discern messages in its trunk lines. I listen the woodpecker’s drumming. I stand in tree shadow, and the breeze swirls.

I am filled. I walk on.


Prior post, Part IV: Metaphors to Place.

Next post, the Finale: Universe to Zip a Dee Doo Dah.

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. Looks like it’s working now! 🙂 I love that quilt. It’s beautiful and colorful, and looks like it’s in great shape for something sewn in the 1890’s. Isn’t it amazing where the little blog that started everything has led you?

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Happy to see your comment, Robin! Yes, isn’t this quilt a work of wonder. There are a few places were the most delicate fabrics are worn, but most of the quilt is in lovely condition. And it IS amazing – the journey that began with a little blog. 🙂

  2. I am enjjoyng the year end calendar

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