Rejoicing with the Wood Lilies

Wood Lily

Wood Lilies @2012 Bo Mackison

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has the power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, rejoice for your soul is alive. ~ Elenore Duse

I consider myself to be fortunate as a nature lover.

I do not live on the edge of Yosemite’s majestic landscape nor near the expansive red mazes of Canyonlands National Park, although living near those parks would be a thrill. I do not live near the coastal craggy rocks of Maine nor the sandy beaches of North Carolina, although a bit of time spent gazing at the relentless waves of the Atlantic is on my to-do list. The redwood forests near the Pacific coast have long been a soul-attraction for me, and when I walked under their canopies, I felt as close to a spiritual awakening as I ever have. I have traveled the United States from north to south and east to west, and I’ve fallen in love with so many varied places.

And I am truly blessed. I have a home in a valley near Tucson. When I drive a few miles to the east, I reach the top of a Sky Island in the Santa Rita Mountain Range. I can see the surrounding desert from an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet. When I drive a few miles towards the west, I am in the Sonoran Desert, a landscape that speaks directly to me and provides me with a hard-to-describe centering experience. That is half of my great fortune, and one I appreciate deeply in the winter and early spring.

Now I’m focusing on the other half of my fortune, experiencing the land I’ve lived in and enjoyed for nearly thirty years, but with which I’d never deeply bonded. This summer I am discovering, through the simple act of a daily walk in the early morning, that the beauty of nature can be found everywhere and anywhere. All I had to do was look around me and appreciate the simple things in nature.

I am truly fortunate to live only a few minutes walking distance from a pond formed in the last glacial era which ended nearly 12,000 years ago, and was  coincidentally called the Wisconsin Glacier Era. Stricker’s Pond is a kettle pond, a pond formed when a chunk of ice settled in a pocket during the last glacier, and then melted and became a shallow pond when the climate warmed.

On my mile walk around the pond I see Little Green Herons, Blue Herons, Mallards, Canada Geese, Wood Ducks, and many other species of birds, amphibians and small animals. There are aquatic plants in the pond, shore plants along the edges, and a recovering mesic prairie stretching north, filled with compass plants, purple coneflowers, Queen Anne’s Lace, chicory, common mullein, purple lupine, and a half-dozen grasses.

Part of my walk takes me through an ancient stand of oaks where I catch glimpses of critters scurrying through the lush green undergrowth, and find patches of wood lilies and sunflowers fringing the woods’ edge, flowers that lift my heart in gladness.

What a feast for the senses, and all within walking distance of my backyard. Wow!


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Yes, wow!

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. Very well said, Bo. There is beauty wherever we live. Thanks for sharing your beauty with us.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I think it is easy to get in the mindset that we need to go someplace special in order to find the most beautiful places. But when I look I find beauty everywhere – sometimes beauty on a grand scale and sometimes a wabi-sabi kind of beauty.

  2. YES. Everyday miracles of nature – those found just outside our doors – are just as incredible as those others described. I envy your experience walking underneath the redwoods as that’s at the tippy top of my list. As for watching the endless waves of the Atlantic? Your room is ready. Anytime, dear.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I’m trying to see the beauty in each day, Debi. Sometimes I do better than others. As for seeing the ocean waves and standing in the ocean breezes? Tempting, so tempting…

  3. Beautiful, Bo! You are such a heart-writer – or that is the phrase that just came to me – because you write so honestly from your heart in a way that always seems to touch mine and others. And I love what you said about “bonding” with the land where we live. Recently I heard someone talk about becoming a protector or steward of the land, and I realized with a start that it was the land where I live that had become a protector of me! Through so many storms, it has put its arms around me. Now that I’ve woken up to that embrace, it feels like we get closer every day…

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Ah Kate. Many thanks for your comment. I love that phrase — a heart writer. And I love your thoughts on both being a protector of your land as the land is a protector of you. Yes, well said.

  4. I also know what it is like to love two very different places. You are blessed to be able to spend time in both of yours!

  5. Gandalf says:

    Very interesting to have your feet in two worlds – the desert with no water and Wisconsin green and wet.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Yes, Gandalf, sometimes I DO feel as if I have each foot planted in a different world. It is both confusing and thrilling!

  6. No matter where – there is always so much beauty. And – you are so lucky to be wherever you are..and to see and capture it thru your unique lens!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thanks Marcie. Isn’t it a blessing to be the fortunate ones, we with a lens in our hands. 🙂

  7. Gorgeous image, Bo. After spending a year (going on two years now) going on daily walks, I know just what you mean about becoming aware of the simple things in nature that are nearby. There are so many places that are considered much more beautiful than where I live, yet I find things daily while out on my walks that can be just as stunning to me as some of the breathtaking scenery I’ve experienced in my travels.

    And lucky you! You can split your time between two very different worlds. 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thanks, Robin. Yes, your daily walk experience gives you plenty of practice. As does mine. And the more we practice, the more we see. How lucky we are!

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