Exploring — My Lawn as a Metaphor

Fully Floral

Fully Floral in Black and White © 2012 Bo Mackison

“Think of your free time, and how you spend it. Are you fighting your inner geography and planting a lawn? Are you going with the ambient climate and keeping it simple? Do you want to do work that is intense and may not fit the popular climate, or do you want to go with the flow and keep your work suited to an easy schedule? Or, do you want to create an environment that’s exotic for you or do you want to explore your nature as it is?” – Quinn McDonald

There are just so many options for spending my free time, and I always pack more ideas into my brain than one woman could do in a lifetime.

But that doesn’t stop me from adding to the list constantly. When I factor in my penchant for change, I need to consider several options for my front lawn if it is to be a metaphor for my free time.

At first thought, I liked the idea of a tall sunflower field.

I would be surrounded by eight foot high plants, all topped with giant yellow sunflower heads. Hidden in the glory of all those waving flowers, spending my free time wandering without being seen. But when I thought about the upkeep and the crispy brown remains of sunflower stalks once autumn’s frost paid a visit, those glorious sunflowers lost their appeal. Maybe I would get tired of being surrounded by a jungle of bright yellow flower heads the size of dinner plates. Too much intense color, over a long period of time, it might be too bright. Or too lonely, hidden away in the flowers.

What about a mass of low growing, take-care-of-themselves-flowers?

And while I’m imagining what I’d really like my free time to look like, in lawn form, I’d like a black and white flower yard where I can change its colors on my whim – like the original movie version of The Wizard of Oz which begins in black and white, and then magically transforms into resplendent  color. That would satisfy my preference for quick change – white to match a pristine day, red for a passionate mood, multicolored when I’m feeling  festive.

Of course, I’d need a magic wand to keep the flowers in tip-top shape, growing lush while remaining an easily tended ground cover.

And the magic wand would come in handy when it was time for a color change, too. My flower lawn requires a bit of magic – is that because I don’t want to do all of the work that fun sometimes requires (such as the wild rush that comes before and after a planned vacation.)

Perhaps I’d like a magic wand because I’m not the quick change artist I wish I could be in real life.

One day I yearn to be a landscape photographer tramping through the wilds of red rock country or the Southwest desert; another day I’m the artist curating her photographs for a museum or gallery show.

One day I am a photographer who is demonstrating the simple workings of a pinhole camera to a group of excited children; another day I’m an urban photographer documenting form and shape in the architectural details of abandoned buildings.

Maybe I’d even be in the mood for some meticulous, creative work. I spend much of my free time doing just that when I am in front of the magical computer screen processing my photographs.

What a changeable yard…um, photographer…




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. Lots of choices, lots of ideas. Isn’t it amazing how one thought can have you packing a truckload of ideas?

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I’m never at a loss for ideas. Ideas come easy. It’s what to do with them that causes all the tribulations! 😉

  2. I like this photo a lot!

  3. Wonderful post, Bo. Interesting how you explored the metaphor. My free time is a little like my lawn: disorganized and filled with wildflowers (some call them weeds) of all kinds. 🙂

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