Rise Up Rooted

Sycamore III

Sycamore in Black and White ©2012 Bo Mackison

. . . if we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God’s heart;
they have never left him.

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

-Rainer Maria Rilke from Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

I traveled into the mountains this morning, and walked along the edge of Madera Creek. The creek was dry, or so I imagined, when I began my descent at 5,000 feet. But by the time I had walked a half mile, I noticed damp Sycamore leaves, recently shed from the overhanging trees and dropped into the creek bed.

Another hundred yards and the creek pooled in deeper crevices. Dark and bubbly, it followed a circuitous route as it descended the mountain.

I watched the water swirling around large piles of leaves. Single leaves danced along, bobbing on the water’s surface. I listened to the creek’s song, low and splashing, accompanied by an occasional bird’s song.

The sounds of life, the language of nature.

As Rilke wrote, “if we surrendered to earth’s intelligence, we could rise up rooted, like trees.”


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She continues to explore some of her favorite places and read some of her favorite poets.

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. This is so beautiful – both how you describe and how you’ve experienced and photographed the ‘sound of life’. Love this post!

  2. I am fascinated by the quote, and your photo illustrates it wonderfully.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thanks, I had fun working with black and white — a bit out of my comfort zone, but I liked the result, too.

  3. Fascinating imagery upon which to ponder today. Thanks, Bo.

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