An Alphabet in Four Parts – Finale

In a Blue Fog

In a Blue Fog © 2010 Bo Mackison

Concluding with the last installment of my alphabetical musings for the changing of the year:


UNDERWEAR. As in SEMPER UBI SUB UBI as in SENSE OF HUMOR. Keeping a sense of humor in my back pocket is a talent well worth cultivating. Though crying can make me feel better, laughing is much more fun. And I am learning that emotions create your reality. Smiling eventually makes you feel better. Crying? Not so much. (If you are unfamiliar with Latin, the above phrase can be [questionably] translated “always where under where.” Many generations of high school freshman Latin student have found that wildly amusing.)


VIEW FINDER. I spend a couple of hours most days looking at life through my camera’s view finder. It makes me focus on that which isn’t always too obvious. It allows me to look at the world from a different vantage point. I find that when I look at a small slice of the world through my camera lens, I end up seeing just the opposite–how huge and magnificent my world really is.


WINTER OF MY DISCONTENT.  No longer am I going to spend the last half of winter in Wisconsin wishing it would go away. (Oooh – lots of alliteration in that sentence!) I would hate to count how many days I barely noticed, because I was in such a funk about the twenty inch snow pack, or the gray clouds, or the windchill, or the [fill in the blank with a nasty weather term]. This year I am avoiding the last two months of winter in Wisconsin, and going to Tucson, an area of the country I love. A promise of sunshine and warmer temps. And I can photograph outdoors without wearing multiple layers of wool. (If Wisconsin has great weather all of February and March, you can all thank me!)

X is for x, the unknown.

X. In the study of mathematics, X is an unknown within a set. So let’s consider math. [Most briefly.] In math equations, one is frequently asked to solve for x, the unknown quotient. Life is rather like math in that we also spend our lifetimes solving for x, for that huge unknown that lies ahead of us. But no matter how carefully we plan, we do not know how the future will unfold, and the cleverest of plans can be undone in seconds. Best to live today as fully as possible. Not wait until tomorrow.

Y is for YODEL.

YODEL. I wish that I knew how to yodel. Because some days, when the sun is brightly shining, and when I hear the wind whistling through the leaves, and the coyotes are howling in the back woods, I would like to add my voice to the song of the Universe. And yodeling seems like a fine way to join in the merriment. Listen to this yodeling. And I dare you not to smile! 🙂

Z is for ZEST.

ZEST. And finally, a simple poem to complete this year’s alphabet and begin the New Year:

“Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”

William Arthur Ward

Peace to all, Bo

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. Lovin’ your alphabet post – from A thru Z. And – the self-portrait is oh-so-very-creative!
    Happy New Year!!!

  2. Another wonderful year end alphabet. I enjoyed them all. The Yodel girl is amazing. Everyone reading this post should click on the link. Wow.

  3. This is a wonderful way to end and begin the year, Bo! I’m waiting for it to come out as an E-book. And the little girl who yodels just made me laugh–what a great energy she put into that song!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thanks, Quinn. If nothing else, doing this alphabet once a year makes me aware of how few words start with x and z! An e-book, hmm?

  4. Your creativity with the alphabet is impressive and wonderful. I really enjoyed these posts, Bo.

    You have reminded me that when I was, oh, maybe 8 or 9 or 10 years old, I wanted to learn how to yodel so I would practice every day, driving everyone crazy. My grandmother banished me and my yodeling practice to the great outdoors (where I probably drove the neighbors crazy). Maybe I should take up yodeling again… 😉

  5. Joanne Keevers says:

    This finale has been extremely entertaining, both in word content and the yodelling girl! I had wondered how easily you would find words for x and z, (which I had imagined would be tricky letters) and you breezed through! I especially enjoyed your take on x. I will think of x throughout this year as I search for the x’s in my own life.

    Peace to you, Bo. 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I was never one for math, Joanne. But finding all the unsolved x’s in life–now THAT’s an adventure I’d gladly choose… 🙂

  6. That is a gorgeous capture in the blue fog. Love it! Wonderful alphabetical musings and fabulous Zest poem! 🙂

  7. I like your take on the view finder. I tend to look at most everything now as if looking through a view finder – puts a cools twist to the situation.

  8. Of all the year-end summaries, I lingered over yours the most (I mean, it’s Jan 8th already… ), savoring reading it all. Best wishes to you for the new year and for many new adventures, many new images and thoughts to share. Thanks for all the loveliness!

  9. Barbara Chavez says:

    Robin, you really know how to yodel? I am impressed!

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