Journal Notes

Sonoran Desert
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. 50 or more, astronomers from across the globe
gaze at the heavens from here.

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

Sky paint? Sapphire blue,
not mineral but precious gem, deepest blue,
Pure blue, it carries my eye into infinity.

Distant Mountain

Distant mountains watch from their blue-grayed peaks,
peaks moored by centuries-old anchors, the desert sands,
lands rolling ridge over ridge, cracked by water-carved-arroyos.
There is hard to find but never forgotten beauty in these lands.

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

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

Ever present guardians play their roles, here
in the desert – silent cacti, arid plants,
grasses growing amidst the scattered sounds – calls, yips, whistles,
whispers, and yearnings, all carried far on the winds.
I stand in silence, the desert quiets.
I hear nothing, feel nothing

I breathe — slow inhales,
I breathe for the desert earth.


Posting a poem each day for the month of April in Honor of National Poetry Month.


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.

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