Arizona Report – Life in the Southwest

Sun Seat

In the Sun Seat © 2011 Bo Mackison

I’ve been in Arizona for a week. The weather has lived up to its promises, and then outdone itself on a few occasions. Except for one windy day, it has been calm and sunny. I’ve basked in the first 80 degree days I’ve seen since last August. I’m 1888 miles from my home, and sometimes it feels like that distance is half way around the world. Life, for sure, is different in the Southwest.

A few observations from the first week:

  • The critters I see still surprise me. A road runner “ran” across my back yard the first morning I was in my new place. I’ve seen it a couple times since, but that old cartoon didn’t lie. “Beep, beep” and it’s outta here, way faster than I can grab my camera.
  • The birds are simply amazing. As soon as the art show was over, and I had time to slow down, I bought a book on Southeast Arizona birds. Sherpa and I spent our only free day together exploring a canyon world famous for its birding populations. I’ve never been a birder. Except for the few birds that are easily identifiable, I refer to the whole of the avian population as “bird.” I am going to learn to identify some of the birds while I am here, though I don’t think I will ever be a bird photographer. I don’t have a lens capable of capturing most birds, although I’m told the hummingbirds are quite tolerant. At least they hover, almost long enough to get their photographs taken. Maybe I’ll get a photo of a hummer or two.
  • My washer and dryer are outside in a utility shed. I haven’t quite gotten used to this. Yesterday, I returned home from an “explore” and headed for the laundry to get my clothes. I nearly came face to face with a javelina. At first I thought it was a large, gray dog, but when it turned around to gaze at me with its beady eyes, its snout was no dog snout. I don’t much like the idea of sharing my laundry room with the javelinas, but they are crepuscular – they visit at dawn and dusk – so I’ll just do my laundry at other times.
  • Early this morning, I threw my arm over the pillow that is sleeping next to me in this king size bed. At first I thought it was Sherpa. But no, it was only a pile of pillows. That moment gave me my first taste of “alone”.  A sudden heave in my chest and a better realization of what I have taken on, and then the moment was over.  But I was shaken enough by my solitary feeling that I got up and made coffee. Every morning, so far, I’ve watched the sun rise from the porch, a cup of coffee in hand. I figure each day deserves a great start.

It’s time to start my day–I can smell the coffee–and give thanks that I am here, living my dream, and that I have this gift of a new day, full of possibilities.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is living in Tucson for the next eight seven weeks, exhibiting her photography in art fairs, taking photographs in deserts and desert gardens, and blogging about photography, art fairs, and learning to live on her own. Her mantra is “Bo goes solo!”

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. I could use a seat like that right now. I’d like to see a road runner some day. I’m still with the Beep-Beep & Wiley Coyote

    • Bo Mackison says:

      The ones I’ve seen–maybe it’s the same one, can’t tell–is smaller than I expected. Not too afraid of people, living where it does.

  2. Bet that javalina was as surprised to see you as you were to see him! We do have lovely birds, but see them while you can. In another two weeks, they will all head to their homes again. And yes, our dawns are worth getting up for–even when they come at 4:15 a.m.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I don’t think javelinas are my favorite, but he was just curious, not bothersome. I’ll have to go up to Madera Canyon if I want to see the birds in a few weeks, I guess. There are reportedly a dozen kinds of hummingbirds there April through June. Wow!

  3. You are seeing lots of things down there1 That must have been a treat , seeing the Javelina. I really enjoyed seeing them!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I saw my first javelina here just a day after my arrival. It crossed the road in front of me. “Why did the little javelina cross the road?” “To see that crazy woman from Wisconsin stop her car and stare!”

  4. Your last observation choked me up a bit. I know that feeling. To me, it’s comforting in a way. It means he’s still there, even if it’s not in a physical sense.

    I love that shot of the sun seat. And want to sit there, sip on some tea, and see these exotic creatures you write about.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Yeah, I’m sleeping with the pillows–and missing Sherpa. Expected, and so we concentrate on all the great opportunities. And any time, Robin, come on down. I;ll share the sun seat with you. 🙂

  5. Wendy B Burton says:

    This picture – it warms my heart. So beautiful with the warm colours & of course your amazing talent to capture the light exactly so.
    I am filled with warmth as well with your decision to sprint ahead with your art, the shows, the exploring (albeit on your own), the knowledge of your abilities to capture photos and not.

    I’ll be coming to sit with you very soon in that wonderful warmth and light through sprit if not in body.
    Angels be with you dear Bo.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Perhaps your spirit came to sit with me while I was standing in the desert. It was a very mystical time, such a grounding, wondrous place!

  6. You are indeed living the dream of many, Bo. Enjoy. (…except the javalinas)

  7. Your photos from Arizona are all so amazing, and I have thoroughly enjoyed your narrative. Loved this photo. It captures everything that I imagine of you on your Southwest retreat.

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