Ocotillo Sunset

Ocotillo Sunset

Ocotillo Sunset © 2012 Bo Mackison

“Something has happened
To my understanding of existence
That now makes my heart always full of wonder…”

~ Hafiz, The Gift

I have desert dreams. They are not as tidy as I would like, but perhaps they are tidier than one would imagine. My desert is a tidy place with a tidy habit. No dense, tangled tropical paradise. In the desert there is room to move. Space for movement. But even more important to me, there is space to see.

Vision is not blocked by billboard or building. When I look, I can see afar. It is not unusual to look across the desert and see a mountain thirty or forty miles away. There is space to form thoughts, to search for answers. My desert dream affords me a polite habitat, nothing to tangle my feet and make me fall, no hidden roots to trip me, no overgrowth to hide my path.

There is room for all to grow, for me to grow.

In my dreaming desert, I do not cut myself on the spines of the cacti, the thorns on the shrubs and trees. I do not step upon desert earth that has rotted from beneath the surface, that gives way with the weight of my step, and sucks my leg into a gaping hole in the desert floor. The desert in my dreams has been sanitized for my night time journeys.

Awake, the desert is wild and streaming a series of ever more deeply saturated color. There is the silhouette of the ocotillo and its thorns, long and sharp. I watch the sun disappear, it drops below the horizon, and the layers of red, orange, purple linger until night’s arrival blackens the sky.

The sun sets. I breathe in tempo with the still warm desert. I inhale, the desert earth inhales. I exhale, the desert earth exhales. Heat stored in the desert’s earth meets the night’s cooling air, and the desert pulsates with energy.

Desert rhythms. I stand and watch, supporting myself with my walking stick while gripping tightly to my world.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  She is in the Sonoran desert.

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. Joanna Paterson says:

    Oh wow. I feel myself there with you, breathing the earth in and out.

    Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Love it

  3. Oh, Bo. Your words send me into another world completely. Are you standing in a desert vortex? Gotta be, because your writing is spiritual in this piece. Spellbinding, literally. Great post.

  4. Dream time is a special space, isn’t it? Movement, gliding, effortless–a lesson in time travel. I love the thorns of the ocotillo in this photo–such a clear warning.

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