In the Mission Garden – A Time of Reflection

Garden, Mission San Xavier del Bac

In the Garden © 2011 Bo Mackison

Today marks the first month of my two month stay in Tucson. The “Bo Goes Solo” experiment, to my great relief, has been a quite a success. I think I could become a desert rat with ease, though to be honest, I’ve only experienced the beauty of spring and nearly perfect weather. I would probably be talking a different story if I was here when the temperatures hit 100˚ and stay there for weeks at a time.

I look back at the last month in amazement. While the world has been spinning and Madison has been on the news day after day, I’ve been spending a lot of time sitting in gardens. I spend much of that time taking photographs, but I also take time to simply sit and absorb. Every place has its own space, its own mood. I’ve spent time in reflection in mission gardens, in the great solitude of the desert at mid-day, atop a mountain accompanied by the constant chirping of migratory birds who are stopping here temporarily.

I’m getting to know a different habitat and the different creatures that live here. I’ve gotten accustomed to visits from the javelina. First, one adult made the rounds at dusk. Now I often see the mom and dad with their two offspring. I’m not fond of the adults’ appearance, though the baby javelinas are cute in an ugly kind of way.

I hear the coyotes singing at night and have seen a few on my desert walks. The road runner I saw when I first arrived hasn’t run past my door again, but other birds are plentiful — several species of hummingbirds, Gambel’s quails,  finches, woodpeckers, even a glimpse of a mountain bluebird.

So I celebrate today, the day “in the middle”, privileged to have spent the first month learning how to “be solo”, and delighted to have the next month to continue my explorations. I’ll also be printing my new collection of desert and mission photographs for the next art fair at the end of the month. I am truly grateful for this time in the desert.

This photograph was taken in a small courtyard garden at Mission San Xavier del Bac, a most remarkable place.


Bo Mackison is living in Tucson for two months, exhibiting her photography in art shows, taking photographs, and blogging about photography, art fairs, and living life “solo.”  There are many gifts to find when one takes the time and opportunity to seek.

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. Joanne Keevers says:

    Your enthusiasm for the “Bo Goes Solo” experiment was always there to ensure it would be a complete success, Bo!

    I’ve had a busy week, but have just had a lovely time catching up on your adventures; the cactus photos (amazing!), your driving around to exploring an unknown area (I understand your worries, I’m not great with navigation myself!), not to mention the beautiful blue skies in many of your photos, showing the warmer weather you had been longing for.

    It is an absolute treat, after a long week of work, for me to read of all of your solo adventures.

    “You Go, Bo!” 😉

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Awww, Joanne, that’s so sweet that this read was a treat for you. It’s been a treat for me to chronicle my journey in this way.

  2. I’m fascinated with your “Bo Goes Solo” adventure and so proud of you for undertaking this journey. As I peruse your cactus images, I can’t help be feel that you becoming more connected with this landscape, providing us a more “intimate” peek. Beautiful work. Your work continues to reach new heights, partially because of you reaching and stretching….

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thanks, Sue. It is amazing what one can do when you get a “big idea” and then work hard towards that plan. And I really am having a wonderful time getting to know this desert. It is so breathtakingly beautiful!

  3. There is something about this photo that brings a great sense of peace. Lovely. 🙂

    And it sounds like your adventure has been a big success so far. Go, Bo!

  4. I love your photographic visions, Bo. You really know how to compose a shot. Congratulations on your half-way mark – pop the cork!!!

  5. I usually don’t post, but I read all of your entries. 🙂 From the Sherpa side of the solo Bo, I’m so very pleased with how the experiment is going – not to mention a tad bit jealous. I wish I could be in AZ with you so it was a duo, but someone has to feed the cat (and a few other things). This is a great and successful experiment. I’m looking forward to more duo time in AZ as the years move along.



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