Hollyhock in Two Perspectives

Hollyhock in Two Perspectives

Hollyhock in Two Perspectives © 2012 Bo Mackison

What a gift of grace to be able to take the chaos from within and from it create some semblance of order. ~ Katherine Paterson

Every weekday I walk around Strickers Pond in the early morning, but I do not bring a camera. On the weekend, I walk the same path, camera in hand. Those two kinds of very different walking experiences give me two perspectives.

I walk with a friend on weekdays and I don’t carry my camera. It would be too tempting to either constantly stop for photo ops, or to not stop and carry the feelings of what “might have been” along on our walk. Plus our plan is to walk at a speed designed to give our bodies a bit of a work-out. I have yet learned how to combine the two terms – brisk walk and taking photographs – successfully.

I balance my photo urges on my weekday walks by bringing my camera along on my weekend walks with Sherpa. He is now an expert at the walking-with-camera-poised for-action routine, he barely notices my frequent, abrupt halts. In fact, he has become so good, he now calls my attention to scenes I miss, in case I want some photographs. (Sherpa does his serious walking at the gym where there are no interruptions of the spouse + camera variety.)

I think the compromise is working well. Five days a week, I see the pond from the perspective of a moving body. On the weekend, I return and see the same pond from the view of a photographer – always on the look out for a soaring egret, a bit of interesting texture or shadow, a new wildflower that has opened for the first time this season.

Last Friday we passed a dozen hollyhock plants in bloom – whites, pinks, creams. My walking partner and I did pause to take in the deep colors, then we continued our walk.

And what was so special about seeing those blossoms? It wasn’t that they were a wonderful subject for a future photo session.


It was listening to the memories that the flowers evoked. I listened as my friend told me about the hollyhocks her father grew in the gardens of her childhood, how a relative had shown her how to make a dolly from the flower – one blossom as the skirt and another as the doll’s bonnet. I remembered making the the same Hollyhock dollies with my great-grandmother.

It was a lovely experience, reminiscing about vintage gardens and old-fashioned flowers, about grandparents and parents who shared not only their love, but the love of their gardens. I couldn’t have taken that special conversation with my camera, but I will remember it.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is enjoying the early morning walks in Wisconsin – camera with AND camera without.

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. Susan Vial says:

    very nice! the photo is magnificent!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Aren’t the holly hocks just beautiful this year? They are a flower that always brings a smile to my face.

  2. That’s a very pretty hollyhock! They remind me of my childhood when there are a number of them growing along one end of our garage. Fascinating plant for a child!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Hollyhocks are one of the olf-fashioned garden flowers that seem to be making a comeback in popularity. Our grandmothers palnted them because they had little time for fussy flowers. Now we plant them, probably for the same reason!

  3. Gandalf says:

    I love hollyhocks. I grew up in the city and hollyhocks were all over the place in the alleys.

  4. Nice

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