On the Mississippi

Barge Docked on the Mississippi

Barge and Tugboat Docked on the Mississippi © 2012 Bo Mackison

While the river of life glides along smoothly, it remains the same river; only the landscape on either bank seems to change. ~ Max Muller

I have traveled along the river roads running next to the Mississippi all of my life.

I was born in a river town in the middle Mississippi River region and I knew no other life except living near the river. My family home was less than a mile from the bluffs overlooking the river, and I spent many hours watching the river traffic. Yes, we watched the river traffic glide up and down the Mississippi for entertainment. (Obviously before the days of hand held electronic entertainment devices!)

Sundays were special occasions if there was fine weather, although rainy weather didn’t always deter us either. Those tugs pushed the barges no matter the weather. Only a frozen river stopped barge traffic. For Sunday-after-church-family-entertainment we would drive to Lock and Dam #21 (now on the National Register of Historic Places!) and watch the boats and barges navigate the locks. There was a small picnic area and for a real treat we would stop at the only fast food place in town, a Sandy’s drive-thru, a small town predecessor to the McDonald’s franchise.

Or I would walk the three blocks from my high school to the Riverside Park and wait for the barges to pass, tug boats maneuvering the long heavy storage containers through the narrow channel. I’d carry my art book and do quick pencil or charcoal sketches, or write in my journal. (Even as a high-schooler, my life revolved around my art and my writing.)

When I thought about the Mississippi River and its significance as a place in my life, I decided to explore more of the river. I have traveled the river extensively from Dubuque, Iowa to St. Louis, Missouri, and I know the Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri river towns quite well.

This past weekend I headed north on the Great River Road on the Upper Mississippi River. I traveled roads on both sides of the river –  in Wisconsin on the east banks and in Iowa and Minnesota on its western shores. There was so much to see and photograph. Sure I’ll be back for many more visits.

The photograph was taken in Winona, Minnesota, near the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. The museum was closed when I was there, but it looks like a fascinating place to visit. Another reason for a return visit.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is vaguely wondering how the Mississippi River as a subject will fit into the Seeded Earth theme.

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:

    Watching the traffic on the river would beat any form of electronic device any day, in my book Bo! Thank you for sharing your memories of the Mississippi today. I would love to hear more about this incredibly huge river, if you decide it suits the theme of Seeded earth. 🙂

  2. Gandalf says:

    Wonderful sky and great scenery.

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