Last Visit to Tumacacori

Tumacacori Garden

Tumacacori Garden © 2012 Bo Mackison

Can you look past the electric wires, telephone poles,
the matching but separate doors labeled MEN and WOMEN,
the coiled rubber hose, the 19th century stone wall cracked open for a water spigot?

Don’t heed the red stop sign hovering above the mission wall
or listen to the rumbling cars speeding from Nogales to the Border Patrol checkpoint.

Cover your ears with your determination for a sacred silence in this sacred space.
Block the sounds of horns blaring, ignore the heated words of the couple standing near the rose bush.


Can you hear rustling leaves, whistling wind? Can you see the shimmer of the cotttonwoods?

These winds were in this garden. The trees now camouflaging the sparrows’ nests, they were here.
The fountain — the garden’s heart — it was here with its rippling waters.
The dust blowing from the Tumacácori Mountain Range – that dust was here.

Those mountains? They stood in silence and watched.
Arched doorways sheltered the walkway, courtyard sheltered a painted statue of the Virgin with her Babe. They watched.

The yucca were here, the tepary beans trailed along the earth.
The nut tree saplings, freshly planted, they swayed in rhythm with the winds. They witnessed.

The che-che-chee of the sparrows joined the voices raised in song —  of protest and praise, with humiliation and elation, in mourning and in gratitude.

Tumacacori Church Entrance

Tumacacori Church © 2011 Bo Mackison

I hear their voices, I hear the choir lift their voices in song.
The rising alleluias, the longing amens.

Their voices. Do you hear them?
Che-che-cheee-ing alleluias.
Siss-siss-siss, leaves dancing, twirling along the dusty path.

Tumacacori Interior Bricks

Interior © 2011 Bo Mackison

Hearts dancing, hold your gaze on the star hunter, poised, aiming his arrow at the full moon.
Hidden voices in the whistling winds.
Hidden eyes, watching from Tumacacori.

Listen. Watch.



Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She will be returning to Wisconsin later this week after living in Tucson for the last two months. She’s been exploring Arizona and living life “solo.” Occasionally she is moved to write poetry, as happened when she took a last visit to Tumacacori National Historic Site.

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. Lovely poem. I love how you took us on a meditative walk through Tumacacori because now I want to truly be there and experience it for myself! And your photos are truly breath-taking. Showing perspectives within your photos is your forte. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing it, Bo, even though I know you don’t share much of your poetry, but I think you should! 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Lotus, thanks so much. I so appreciate your poetry, and am greatly appreciative of your comment about my poetic journey in Tumacacori.

  2. Joanne Keevers says:

    Oh Bo, that is just wonderful!

    I agree that it is possible to block out the unwanted superficial stuff and only zone into the spirit of the place you are in. It takes practice, but is really worth the effort.

    Now my heart is dancing…

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Yes, some places require a certain amount of “going into yourself” to really be in the space. You owuld love these missions, I’m thinking, Joanne. They are full of mystery, history, and unspoken words.

  3. So very creative. Pure poetry!! Am so enjoying witnessing your ‘creative evolution’. I guess we’re all doing some of that?!?! Terrific!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Not so sure about the creative evolution — I’m not going to start a poetry blog any time soon 🙂 — but I am enjoying the complete experience. Thanks, Marcie.

  4. Powerful, Bo. Very powerful. I felt like I’d been transported by your words and pictures. No, that’s wrong. It wasn’t just a feeling. I was transported, for just a few moments in time.

    Thank you. 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      It is easy to feel in a different space when you are at Tumacacori — I love that you were able to feel that through my words. Thank you, Robin.

  5. Been thinking on this lovely poem you have written here, Bo. Just beautiful…

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thanks, Susan. I wrote it, word for word, as I was sitting in the garden. I don’t write much poetry at all, but I seem to, whenever I am at Tumacacori!

  6. This is more than just a poem–this is a part of you, being here with whatever is. Just in that moment. How precious that moment is, always carried with you.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Being in the moment? Yes, I felt deeply connected to my moments there–as if I were walking and moving and thinking in slow motion.

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