From My Desert Journal

Sonoran Desert

Sonoran Desert © 2012 Bo Mackison

West, beyond the terraced land of copper mines the earth coughs up mesquite and creosote,
layered gravels holding tight the bushes’ roots, thorn scrub this land is called,
or desert scrub, a swaying land, dizzying,
blinding to my eyes unaccustomed to the torrential whites
of desert light, swaying, undulating, until the scrub becomes desert, the cacti appear.

Look and see the mountains rising from sea-level-deserts to miles-high-tundra, scan the landscape, the topography,
fifty miles in the distance there are observatories on Kitt Peak.
I see white domes.

Pale earth, palest of terra cotta, red ocher,
burnt sienna, burnt umber – a Renaissance painter’s palette,
the minerals – Sonoran desert colors.

Sky paint? The sky’s sapphire blue,
not mineral but precious gem, deepest hue of blue,
no smudges on the blue bowl. Pure blue, it carries my eye into infinity.

Distant Mountain

Distant Mountain © 2012 Bo Mackison

Distant mountains watch from their blue-grayed peaks,
peaks moored by centuries-old anchors, desert sands,
lands rolling ridge over ridge, cracked by water-carved-arroyos.
There is beauty in such surroundings.

Mountains interrupt the repetitions of waves,
a woven landscape of constancy,
the earth remains the same until close inspection uncovers an unsuspected diversity.
My mouth drops open, my eyes widen, my senses awaken.

Rough edges burnished with desert varnish,
polished in black patina, countless layers of microscopic colonies,
millenial crusts cover mountain faces.

Ever present guardians play their roles, here
in the desert – silent cacti, arid plants,
grasses growing amidst the sounds – calls, yips, whistles,
whispers, and yearnings carried upon the winds.

Standing in my circle of silence, the desert quiets.
I hear nothing, feel nothing except the sun and my own breathing.
I breathe — slow inhales, slow exhales — I breathe for the desert earth.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is exploring the Sonoran Desert.

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. Sea divers experience the “rapture of the deep”. There is also a rapture of the desert.

  2. Well I’m jealous. I’d love to be there for some hiking. While I do like the snow and skiing, the desert looks very inviting.


  3. There is indeed a “rapture of the desert,” as Montucky so poetically puts it. I’m also jealous for I love the desert and am so happy for you that you are there. I can close my eyes and remember all those sights and sounds, colors and smells. Embrace it, dearie. Lovely post.

  4. This landscape is mysterious and oh-so-beautiful! Love how you’ve seen and rendered it here!

  5. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

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