Agave – A Desert Lesson in Awareness

Agave, Opening

Agave, Opening Β© 2014 Bo Mackison

Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language. ~ Aldo Leopold

Before the agave blooms, it is a rosette of green spiny leaves. And then, in the middle of the green spines, a thick stem grows. It thickens and stretches, and often reaches twenty or more feet into the air, sending forth a burst of scented yellow flowers high enough to attract the pollinating bats flying in the dark desert night.

In the excited anticipation of the bloom, an occurrence that happens only once in the life of the plant, the beauty of the stalk is usually overlooked. But a close examination of the protruding stalk offers an unexpected desert gift – a multitude of colors. Yellows and oranges, peachy pinks and soft greens, and a spike of purple.

Another desert lesson in awareness and paying attention, in noticing the small things amidst the grand. The gift of the unexpected, the overlooked.

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. Absolutely agree – many small and fascinating details are hidden by the spectacular

  2. Great plant. And amazingly beautiful picture: A wonderful work of art! Nature is beautiful πŸ™‚

  3. This is so beautiful. I’m glad you’re there to notice the small things. πŸ™‚

  4. Lettie S says:

    Your macro work is inspiring.

  5. Desert colors mirrored in the beauty of the stalk. Stark beauty, similar beauty. And leave it to you, Bo, to bring it to our attention. This is a lovely image – could stare at it all day. Sigh….

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