My Summer Office

My Summer Office
My Summer Office © 2012 Bo Mackison

What is the good of the stars and trees, the sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into your daily lives. ~ E. M. Forster

Welcome to the office space I set up on my screened porch in my home in Wisconsin.

We’ve never had a table on the porch overlooking our back yard and our perennial gardens, our lilacs and our special trees – white birch, sugar maples, mountain ashes, towering pines – all planted for special occasions. (When we moved into this house over 25 years ago, there were two trees on the property – a straggly silver maple and a city tree near the street that was wilting and browning in August.) Each year we have added, replaced, cared for all the plants and trees in our space, and each time I look out into our yards I am filled with gratefulness for the nearness of nature.

Prior to my make-over, the back porch was used as an evening haven, a sitting down space after the work of the day was completed, a place to share stories, plans, ideas with family and friends. There were plenty of sitting spots, though if we ate dinner on the porch it was always a lap affair.

Last week I stood on the porch, and thought about the “winter office” I had arranged in Arizona – a table and chairs on a covered patio, a hook up for internet, a pitcher of iced tea or water. I had loved working in the outdoors. Then I realized that I could, with a little scrounging and re-arranging, have the same sense of working in the outdoors in Madison.

I found a Bistro table and chairs on clearance at Target. Perfect. I’d recently read a study about the benefits of standing for at least part of the work day. With this height table I could alternate sitting in the higher chair or standing. I  prefer standing, so I was pleased how simply I could accommodate both choices.

I removed all the chairs except for a glider that I fancy — nothing like sitting in the dark, listening to the night sounds, swaying back and forth in a gentling, readying-for-sleep rhythm. I added a cloth basket on small table near the door so I could store all the cords that are required for computer, phone, photo transfer, etc. That allows me to bring my office supplies inside when threatening weather approaches.

I don’t do photo processing on the porch — way too bright –but I can get a lot of the business part of my art done and I write and read on the porch. And the screen protects me from the many wasps and other stinging insects that make my home their home, too.

A grand solution, so far. We’ll see how things progress as summer moves through July and August…


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She creates with the camera and the computer, and finagles a way to spend as much time outside as possible!


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. Wendy B Burton says:

    This is wonderful Bo. I love what you have done here.

  2. Love the quote. It’s so true, so much like you and so perfect for this photo. Working in nature calms the soul.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      The gift I have discovered in nature has indeed been a calming influence. I am so grateful

  3. A gorgeous place to work!!!

  4. Joanne Keevers says:

    Wonderful Bo! And all it took was a little creative imagination, (which you already possess by the bucket-load!) 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Joanne, you are so kind. It was a joyful discovery – this little space ready to be re-arranged into work space.

  5. Now that’s a great office!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Almost as good as when my work leads me through a desert landscape or on a forest path. Almost!

  6. Oh..I absolutely love this. Can’t think of a better way to merge summer and ‘work’!!!

  7. Gandalf says:

    wish my office was outside. I’m jealous.

  8. This is a wonderful and very clever set-up, Bo. 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thanks, Robin. I am actually getting several hours of work done on the porch almost every day. Very pleased.

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