Barbed Wire – Barrier Series, The Beginning

This post is the first in my photo/story series on my journey of healing and recovery. See the introduction and complete series at My Healing Journey.

Barbed Wire

Barbed Wire Barrier  © 2012 Bo Mackison

“Your life with its immensity and fear . . . is alternately stone in you and star.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, from the poem Evening

Before there was a beginning, before the crisis and a diagnosis, there was a dream.

I see the world. It is there. When I reach up, I reach into the cool air. When I look up, I see a bright blue, cloud scattered skies. Yet the world is beyond my reach. In this dream I have repeatedly, I’m trapped in a tiny enclosure, an enclosure tall on four sides, but open to the sky. I struggle to  unlock the gate. When I try to move forward, I’m blocked by a cold steel fence and chain-link wire. Barbed wire adds an extra degree of isolation.

Barbed wire – a common fence, a stereo-typical barrier.

And then I am no longer dreaming. I am living my life in slow-motion, denying there is a problem.

I know I am in a separate place. I cannot reach out to my family and friends, I cannot communicate with them. They are on the other side of the barrier, and even if I managed a whisper, no one can hear me.

I am cast in fear, held down by a weighted stone. My only relief is a connection, however slight, to the natural world. When I look out the window, it is snowy and cold, but I do look up at the sky. I can always see the sky.

The human spirit focuses on that which is beyond vision.

         — based on journal entries, October 1990.

Part 2: Boarded Window.

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. Powerful words to go with the image that perfectly reflects the words.

  2. Most definitely a powerful image.

  3. I’m sort of speechless here…. So deeply powerful and moving.

  4. This is so moving and so powerful, Bo, I don’t know what to say/write.

  5. Even if there isn’t a clear reaction with words, there is an internal reaction. Image and words together make a statement that affects the heart. Very thought provoking as well.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I find I am often inspired by a photograph, opens a door to a different creative process, then the words follow.

  6. Bo, I have no words for what you have gone thru in the past. I have words for where you have emerged. You are an artist! Bravo for having the strength to get to your now.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thank you, Dick. I am thankful to be living in my now. I am the person and artist I am today, it is a culmination of my past.

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