Shadows of the Olive Leaf

Shadows of the Olive Leaf

Shadows of the Olive Leaf © 2012 Bo Mackison

On my first full day back in Arizona, I spent the last hours of sunlight in the historic mission garden at Tumacacori National Historic Site in southern Arizona. It is one of places I visit most often when I am in Arizona – a tiny historic preservation of an 18th century mission church in ruins. I often find a quiet space – easy to do – and simply sit.

Take in the warmth of the lingering sun which soon will disappear behind the Tumacacori Mountains. Watch soaring hawks dip and slide on the  currents of wind. Listen to the breezes whispering to the leaves. Listen to the voices from the past, voices raised in chanting song. (I don’t have to imagine these voices – there is a recording of the hymns similar to those sung by the O’ohdam centuries ago. It lends a surreal audio experience to the already memory-haunting surroundings.)

I took a few photographs in the garden, but not one of a flower or a desert plant. I captured these olive leaf shadows on the bark of another tree, other trees ou of focus in the background, but adding another layer of shadow and mystery. I captured the blue waters in the silent fountain. A few cracks in an adobe bench, the textures of the hand fired bricks.

It was a fine first day explore of one of my favorite thinking places. Very quiet, a pensive place. This mission garden provides the perfect space for contemplation.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is taking a few days to adapt to her cross country move from Wisconsin’s snowy-frigid winter to Arizona’s desert-sun winter.

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. Well seen and so beautifully captured!

  2. Reading your words, Bo, I felt as though I were there. Even heard the chanting music in my mind. Exquisite photograph.

  3. Sounds wonderful. Your photo invokes the peace and quiet.

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