Crossing the Country

Car on Historic Route 66

Old Car © 2013 Bo Mackison

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
~ Miriam Beard


It is sunny and 71˚ and 8:03 a.m. when I lock the door,
jam my last bag in the car.
No need to memorize the blue of the sky, it is already mine.
A red tail hawk dips into the arroyo,
I catch his wide sweep as I turn north.
Prickly pears and yucca bloom extravagantly,
Spent blossoms of the ocotillo litter the curbside.

In three hours I have detoured twice,
a little lost, I follow Arizona Scenic Highway signs
like dropped bread crumbs in a dark forest,
curve along the edges of copper mines,
open pits of rock, miners in yellow hard hats maneuver
front-loaders along the narrow ledges.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

Boyce Thompson Arboretum © 2013 Bo Mackison

I walk the paths of the arboretum at noon,
detour through Miami’s mission district at three,
at four I descend into the Salt River Canyon.
Hawks soar high above the road, I follow their shadows on the asphalt.
Red Tails are my trip totem,
Road cuts expose the white rock of the White Mountains,
Vines and creeping flowers line the rough rock.

5:02 p.m. and I stop in Show Low,
the motel is on Deuce of Clubs Street, the main drag.
Can’t show lower than the deuce of clubs.

Scattered Petrified Wood

Scattered Petrified Wood © 2013 Bo Mackison

Sunday morning:

Gas at Safeway is 3.42 a gallon,
two fishermen lean against their truck, boat in tow,
and argue about late starts and wasted time.
The older guy draws on his cigarette while pumping gas.

North of Show Low the topography is Illinois flat,
the soil is Utah red.
Dead River.
Querino Wash.
Four Mile Draw, Five Mile Draw, Six Mile Draw.
Godawful flat and dusty,
Telephone poles are distraction.

Past Holbrook, outcroppings jut like layers of floor sheeting.
It’s a land of rock, a many-layered fossil cake in rainbow hues.
Entrance signs greet and command:
“Welcome to Petrified Forest National Park.
Do Not Remove Rocks Under Penalty of Law.”
I take only photographs.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. A cross-country traveler by day, and an occasional poet in the evening.

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. Gandalf says:

    Nice Travel Log.

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