Imagination – A Desert Wisdom Card

Imagination - Desert Wisdom Card

Ocotillo Birds ©2013 Bo Mackison

But if we learn to read the signs of life all around us, and if we discover that we are indeed created to be creative, then we can rediscover the power and resourcefulness of imagination — another aspect of soul.
~ Marjory Zoet Bankson

Ocotillo bloom throughout the Sonoran Desert.

They are one of the most reliable flowering plants in the Sonoran Desert, so reliable that migrations of hummingbirds rely on its nectar for sustenance. The bright orange spires pop from the ends of the ocotillo branches in wildly imaginative clusters.

Whenever I see clusters of ocotillo in bloom, my imagination awakens.

I see images of fluttering birds, or celebratory pennants waving twenty feet in the air. When the spent blossoms drift to the ground, I imagine the pavement studded with orange sapphires or paper confetti. What a rich life one has with an imagination unleashed!

Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore, the foundation of all invention and innovation…it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.”
~ J.K. Rowling

Imagination not only allows us to expand creative thinking, it also encourages new thoughts, connections, and understanding. It allows us to travel where we have never been, to dream of possibilities, and to identify with strangers as fellow members of humankind.

Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.
~ Gloria Steinem

IMAGINATION offers questions/reflections for journal writing, an art prompt, and a call for action:

  • Imagine the life of an acquaintance or even a stranger. In your imagination, compare and contrast your lives. Reflect on the above quote from J.K. Rowling as she equates the power to imagine with the power to empathize.
  • Spend fifteen minutes (or more) letting your mind wander. Imagine “what if?” Day dream. Doodle or draw while you are noodling with your mind. Yes, doodles can count as journaling, but also include words or phrases, if desired.
  • Art Prompt: Try this activity on a sunny day when you are indoors. Notice the shadows that reflect on the interior walls from the window light. Capture these shapes with a camera or sketch them on paper. Let the wall shadows trigger your imagination. Embellish the shadow photos or drawings using your imagination.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  Bo is creating a deck of Desert Wisdom Cards for exploration and discovery, using photography, with a Sonoran Desert theme – its myths and stories, cultures and heritage, and the desert’s remarkable natural beauty and resources.

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. Gandalf says:

    Ocotillos are simply wonderful. Also great thoughts.

  2. Bo Mackison says:

    Ocotillos – one of the desert Southwest’s best hidden secrets. I love ocotillos!

  3. The Ocotillo is wonderful. I can see how it would inspire the imagination. 🙂

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