Desert Walking – A Meditation

Desert Mountain Trail

Desert Mountain Trail ©2012 Bo Mackison

Every soul innately yearns for stillness, for a space, for a garden where we can till, sow, reap, and rest, and by doing so come to a deeper sense of self and our place in the Universe. Silence is not an absence but a presence. Not an emptiness by a repletion. A filling up. ~ Anne LeClaire

When I want to do deep thinking, ponder the questions that, as of yet, have no answer, I head to the desert, walk one of the trails through this bountiful wilderness. I do some of my most productive thinking here, walking the desert path. Alone. In this deep stillness, the only sounds are far off – coyote in song.

Trail in the Sonoran

Trail in the Sonoran ©2012 Bo Mackison

The desert is my garden; it is where I till, sow, reap, and rest. I walk the paths carved around the desert plants, trees, climb in and out of washes, struggle with the changes in elevation.

Ideas come out in plain view for consideration. I dissect my goals into tiny seeds, doable baby steps. Plans ripen, lead to commitment to action.

Desert Tree

Desert Tree ©2012 Bo Mackison

My gratitude for the life I lead is huge. I speak to the desert, and so I, too, speak to the Universe. My list of gratitudes — people, places, events, things — is long. I give thanks, I cry at the wealth in my world, I sing a song of thankfulness, while wondering if the coyotes hear my off tune melody.

Nurse Tree to Young Saguaro

Nurse Tree to Young Saguaro ©2012 Bo Mackison

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks. ~ John Muir

When I walk with nature, my world expands, I see where I stand in my life’s journey. I stand upon the Mother Earth, grounded, and feel connected to a greater plan for the greater good.


Saguaro Forest ©2012 Bo Mackison

 To be alive, to be able to see, to walk, to have a place to live, music, art — it is all a miracle. I have adopted the technique of living life miracle to miracle. ~ Arthur Rubenstein

Tucson Mountain Park

Tucson Mountain Park © 2012 Bo Mackison

Our way is not soft grass, it is a mountain path with lots of rocks. But it goes upward, forward, toward the sun. ~ Ruth Westheimer

Couple of Cactus

Couple of Cactus © 2012 Bo Mackison

I speak to the tall saguaro – tell of my plans, my hopes, my fears. I ask for courage and patience and understanding. The desert responds in its steadfast stillness, yet answers and awareness boomerang towards me on rays of sunlight.

Desert Moon at Sunrise

Desert Moon at Sunrise ©2012 Bo Mackison

If you look for the truth outside yourself,
it gets farther and farther away.
Today, walking alone, I meet it everywhere I step.
It is the same as me, yet I am not it.
Only if you understand it in this way
Will you merge with the way things are.
~ Tung-Shan

Strength. Courage. Understanding – all desert teachings, all are gifts from the desert.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Bo walks the deserts in Arizona, and pays attention.


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. This is beautiful – both the photographed desert landscape and your musing meditations. Thank-you!

  2. Your photo’s of the desert reflect my feelings exactly. I wish I were there today. I enjoyed your Blog more than you will imagine. Looking forward to hearing from you on the 19th. luv, Jackie

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thank you, Jackie, for leaving such a kind comment! I am so happy that you enjoyed my blog and my take on the desert. I’m looking forward to our call too! Bo

  3. wish i had my hiking boots, stick, water and shorts. alas i’m no where near the Sonoran desert.

  4. This is such a beautiful walk and meditation. Thank you, Bo. You’ve brightened up my day. 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thank you, Robin. I appreciate your kind words, so happy that this post brought a bit of brightness to your day.

  5. Seeing the desert through your eyes is so interesting, Bo. I love how you are using the landscape and the climate to really concentrate on who you are and want to become. Odd how we have to leave home to find out who we are.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thank you, Quinn. I do feel a special calm and sense of direction when I walk the desert. Looks like I perhaps have two homes now. 🙂

  6. Bo, you can’t imagine how good it was to see this series of photos of the desert that I still love so much!

Leave a Reply