Hanging On

Hanging On © 2013 Bo Mackison

“Ten times a day something happens to me like this – some strengthening throb of amazement – some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.” ~ Mary Oliver

Journal Reflections

A walk in the desert and I experience that same throb, a sense of wonder repeatedly. Walking in the desert is not exercise for my body – I hardly take a step before I stop to listen and look – but exercise for my mind, my soul, my spirit. I hike far enough so that I am there, alone. Only the music of the coyote song or cactus wren accompany my breathing and the racing of my heart.

I discovered something about my photographic habits a couple of weeks ago. Whenever I see something I want to photograph, I ready my camera settings and raise the viewfinder to my eye. If I see what I anticipated, I trill in excitement. Something like “oh, oh, oh” — always in triplicate. I do it without thought. When I hear my unexpected little song, I laugh.

So the coyote, the cactus wren, and the camera lady — we sing together in the desert.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is exploring creative photography. poetry, and emotion in a new series featuring desert botanicals.

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. I know that oh!

    These images are gorgeous

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Ah yes. I am sure there are a great many of us out there, singing our own rendition of “oh, oh, oh”. Part of our great enjoyment, camera in hand. Thanks. 🙂

  2. So pretty!!

  3. I like your description of walking in the desert. I always felt much the same way about it.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Walking in the desert or walking in the mountains — it seems such experiences add great meaning to our lives, Montucky. 🙂

  4. Huh! I’m with you; photography is (one of) my passion(s). The study of attention is fascinating; love your photos and poetry.

  5. A favorite post, this one. I, too, love the solitude of the desert. The smell, the sounds of silence, of nature. “oh, oh, oh!” I will hear that in my mind every time I see a new photo of yours! LOVE this, Bo.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      It’s so true — the desert is such a wondrous place, undiscovered by so many – which adds to its attraction. Places that offer solitude are special, indeed. As for that “oh, oh, oh”, listen to yourself for a while and see it there’s a habit you associate with a great find — it’s kind of fun to notice. 🙂

  6. Love this image and your thoughts, Bo. I understand this:

    “Something like “oh, oh, oh” — always in triplicate.”


  7. Oddly enough, I do, Bo. Although it’s more like “ah, ah, ah” than “oh, oh, oh” for me. 🙂

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