Bleeding Hearts

String of Hearts

Hometown Hearts © 2011 Bo Mackison

“Solo in Tucson” is over.

Sherpa and I left Tucson on Thursday morning and spent the first night of our “going home” road trip at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino just south of Albuquerque. Friday we planned to drive to Wichita, Kansas before stopping for the night, but high winds and blowing dust plagued us from noon until after five p.m.

After I counted the eighth semi rollover in a two-hour period — trucks sprawled upside down in the roadside ditch — I went searching for a map and a closer stopping place. We ended up staying in Liberal, Kansas, four hours behind schedule. Fortunately, Saturday dawned calm and sunny, and after thirteen hours of driving, we reached our third night’s destination, Quincy, Illinois.

Quincy is my hometown, and as a child, I lived in a huge brick apartment house with my parents, my grandparents and my great-grandmother. I was frequently sent to pick a bouquet of flowers whenever someone wanted some spring color in one of the rooms. In April, my flower of choice was the beautiful bleeding heart. It never failed to bring a smile to the face of the recipient. Or to me.

Bleeding Heart Bush

Bleeding Heart Bush © 2011 Bo Mackison

On Sunday morning, our last day of travel, we stopped at the old house. The home is vacant and in disrepair, but I could see part of the back garden from the road, the greenery overgrown and leaning against the side yard fence. And I could see the bleeding heart bushes covered with hundreds of blooming flowers.

I grabbed my camera and quickly took a few photographs of my childhood garden. The bleeding heart plant is one that never ceases to thrill me, its many branches supporting strings of bright pink hearts. What a lovely and unusually shaped bloom.

And then Sherpa and I hit the road, and arrived home Sunday evening. We unpacked the art trailer before we collapsed in bed, quite exhausted.

My spectacular journey, “Solo in Tucson,” comes to an end.

All totaled, I spent 78 days in Tucson and Arizona, and wrote 62 blog posts about my travels, the art fairs I did in Tubac and Tempe, and the many places I explored and photographed in the Southwest.

During my travels, I was grateful to all who regularly visited my blog. Last Thursday, I announced a drawing for some of my photography as a token of my appreciation. Today, as promised, I announce the winner.

The winner of the drawing, picked using a random number generator, is Robin, a writer/photographer I often visit on her blog, Life in the Bogs.

Congratulations, Robin! I’ll be in touch soon.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She spent the last 10 weeks living Tucson while exhibiting in art shows, taking photographs, and blogging about photography, art, and living life “solo” in the desert. Bo’s “Solo in Tucson” adventure is over, but the memories will last forever. And who knows — maybe there will be a “Solo in Tucson 2012”!

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. Yipee!! I’m so excited I’m doing a little happy dance. 😀

    I wondered if the stormy weather interfered with your trip home. I’m glad you made it back safely.

    A friend recently gave me a couple of bleeding heart plants. It’s good to see what they’re going to look like once planted, growing, thriving, and flowering. They are really beautiful in your photos. I can see why you like them so much.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Bleeding hearts are a great plant — the tiny hearts always make me smile. And congratulations–I’m wondering just what photo you will pick!

  2. Joanna Paterson says:

    How lovely that you are still bringing beautiful flowers to people’s lives!

  3. Joanne Keevers says:

    Bo, I’ve just been doing the same thing on my trip, taking photos of memorable childhood moments! The bleeding hearts are simply gorgeous! When I arrive home I’m going to investigate if they grow in my area at all. I’d love a Bleeding Heart bush in my garden. I’ll let you know what I find out.

    How did the cat respond to you when you arrived home? 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Bleeding hearts grow in zones 3 to 9 in the US. I added the link that compares US to AUS zones. I’ll be curious to see if you live where they grow. How fun would that be, to grow little heart bushes! 🙂

      And Jazz, my terrible black cat, has been quite friendly since I returned home. I think she is glad to see me, but she doesn’t want to appear TOO happy!

      • Joanne Keevers says:

        I’m in luck, I live in zone 4, and I’ve also discovered that out local plant nursery sells Bleeding Heart plants! I’ll let you know the progress when I have one in my garden. 🙂

        Cats are so aloof, aren’t they? My two cats were the same when I arrived home, didn’t want to appear too happy, until they were good and ready to come to me!

  4. Oh…I love these. So beautiful!!!

  5. “The road leads ever on…” So sayeth Bilbo Baggins. And the road returns you to the start of your journey. “Well, I’m home.” Samwise Gamgee.

    Glad you made it back safe and sound.

  6. Wonderful! Makes me want to live further east, just to see these every spring…childhood memories for me too. The images bring the memories back to life.

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