Frosty Pastels – Contemplating What Isn’t in What Is

Frosted Pastels

Frosted Pastels © 2011 Bo Mackison

If you really want to see something,
look at something else.
If you want to say what something is,
inspect something that it isn’t.
If you want to see the invisible world
look at the visible one.
If you want to know what East really is,
look North.
If you have a question concerning the sea,
look at the mountains….
– Howard Nemerov, ON METAPHOR

This is a simple photograph, a nature photograph. Pleasing pastel colors, a fringe of frost of the dogwood leaves sparkling in the early morning sunlight. The colors reflect the gradual changes of impending cold – greens fading to pale greens, greens turning into pinks, then reds, deepening further into purples.

This simple photograph tells me of the winter that always comes, of the sun that rises every morning, of the deciduous leaves that follow the cycles of the seasons. That there is beauty in simplicity and change and the infinite passing of time.

If we look, stay aware, accept, reach out, take one step further, give thanks.

If I want to understand the invisible, look at the visible. Study that which is changing in my outside world to aid me in understanding the changes in my internal world.

If I really want to see something, I look at something else. Compare. Contrast. Grasp the subtleties, observe the obvious.

Mix it all together, let it simmer, cool, then enjoy.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Bo is examining the winter in anticipation of her visit to the 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. Love the post. The photo, the quote and your usual commentary that challenges us the observers to contemplate the issue all tie together in this post.

  2. Bo, as always I love your prose. Your photograph is gently striking and fits your missive quite well. I’ve missed being here of late but today aim to catch up on your “alphabet” project. XO

  3. Joanna Paterson says:

    Beautiful reflections, and the photograph is stunning.

  4. Stunning photo, Bo. As is this post.

  5. Lovely frosty photograph. I actually thought I was looking at a Coleus, so subtle is the coloring. Beautiful!

  6. Such interesting thoughts and reflections. And – I just love the soft colors in this simple image.

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