Bo’s 4th Annual Photographic Alphabet – V


Tumacacori - Window with a View

Tumacacori - Window with a View © 2011 Bo Mackison

I am re-posting these reflections I wrote during my last visit to Tumacacori National Historic Park, ruins of a mission once housing Spanish priests and the Tohono O’Odham they converted to Catholicism and taught the ways of ‘modern’ man. I sat in the garden for several hours, reflecting on the stories I had heard from the park rangers, and the voices that I seemed to hear. Here is a slightly revised version.

Cover your ears with your determination, seek the sacred in this scarred space.
Block the sounds of horns honking, ignore the heated words of the couple standing near the mesquite.


Can you hear rustling leaves, whistling wind? See the shimmer of cotttonwoods?

These winds were in this garden. The trees now camouflaging the sparrows’ nests, they were here.
The fountain — pulsing garden heart — it was here with its cleansing waters.
The dust blowing from the Tumacácori Mountain Range – that dust was here.

Those mountains? They stood in silence and watched.
Arched doorways sheltered the walkway, courtyard sheltered a painted statue of the Virgin with her Babe. They watched.

Tumacacori Interior Bricks

Interior © 2011 Bo Mackison

The yucca were here, the tepary beans trailed along the earth.
The nut tree saplings, freshly planted, they swayed in rhythm with the winds. They witnessed.

The che-che-cheee of the sparrows joined the voices raised in song –  of protest and praise, with humiliation and elation, in mourning and in gratitude.

In the Sun

In the Sun © 2011 Bo Mackison

I hear their voices, the choir lifting their voices in song.
The rising alleluias, the longing amens.

Their voices. Do you hear them?
Che-che-cheee-ing alleluias.
Siss-siss-siss, leaves dancing, twirling along the dusty path.

Hearts dancing, hold your gaze on the star hunter, poised, aiming his arrow at the full moon.
Hidden voices in the whistling winds.
Hidden eyes, watching from Tumacácori.

Listen. Watch. Hush.


Arizona - Leaf Shadows on Seed Pod

Leaf Shadows on Seed Pod © 2011 Bo Mackison

I love seeds, seed pods, seed heads, dried seeds.

I began taking macro-photographs of the many autumn seeds in a nearby prairie in early October, 2007, and really took my first prolonged look at a few of the millions of seeds covering the earth. At the time I thought of how the earth was a “seeded earth”.

Wabi Sabi Prairie

Wabi Sabi Prairie © 2011 Bo Mackison

“Simplicity is the core of wabi-sabi. Nothingness is the ultimate. But before and after nothingness, simplicity is not so simple.” Leonard Koren

Seeds and seed heads are two of my favorites to photograph. Seed heads are an example of the concept of wabi-sabi which focuses on the essence pared down, but not stripped of its poetry and emotional warmth. remains intact.

Wabi-sabi compels one to look at something, and then look again and again.

Milkweed Pod

Milkweed Pod © 2011 Bo Mackison

In autumn I always include a photo session with a milkweed pod in my “to shoot” list. Milkweed seeds are closely associated with my business name, Seeded Earth Studio.

When I choose the name for my first blog, a writing and photo sanctuary where I planned to feature a daily photograph of nature, the name “Seeded Earth Photography” came to mind.

When I began my business at the end of 2009, it was natural to name my fledgling company Seeded Earth Studio.



Tangled © 2011 Bo Mackison

There are days when this photograph accurately describes how I feel. All tangled in a pile of to-do lists and responsibilities and demands and deadlines. When that happens, I make an effort to get out of the studio, if only for an hour, and take photos. Occasionally, I look for photographs that symbolize how I feel.

This was definitely taken on an “all tangled up in details” day.


Bours House

Red Fence © 2011 Bo Mackison

This may not be what many people think of when asked what urban art is, but I love to look for the artistic designs that I see when I am exploring and photographing the architectural works of Frank Lloyd Wright and his contemporaries. I love this red wrought iron fence, love its simplicity, love how it is combined with the plantings to make an artistic statement.

Side Entrance Detail on Bogk House, Frank Lloyd Wright architect

Geometric Trim on Door © 2011 Bo Mackison

It isn’t hard to find artistic touches on these Prairie Style homes. Windows are art glass. Planters, moldings, lighting, even the concrete edges of the eaves decorated with layered geometrics, are examples of urban art. I think it is one of the reasons I get so much pleasure from photographing architecture. It is the almost unseen details that I love to capture.


Today’s post has been brought to you by the letters R, S, T and U.

Tomorrow’s post will be brought to you by V, W, X, Y and Z.

And yesterday’s post was brought to you by N, O, P and Q.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. The alphabet series will end with tomorrow’s post.



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. Another wonderful post, Bo. I am enjoying your alphabet very much. 🙂

  2. I continue to be enthralled by your calendar.

  3. You never cease to make my jaw drop with your writing, your imagery, your photographs, everything. Each post is sheer perfection. Wabi-sabi, indeed, and urban photography. I was completely enmeshed by the prose with “Ruins,” which took me back to fond memories of my beloved Southwest. Well done, dear.

Leave a Reply