South. West. Business.

Heading South West

South West Business © 2011 Bo Mackison

Yesterday, the signs seemed to all point to one thing — South West Business. I even had assistance from a road sign in southwestern Wisconsin that was just one more reminder that I am traveling south, and west, and on business!

I love this sign – I take this road sign as a SIGN that I am on the right course in my journey! I am heading to the Southwest where I have plenty of business to manage.

The idea of exhibiting my art on the art fair circuit is a bit daunting, especially when I look at the whole picture. Traveling 1800 miles one way, setting up my art booth in a strange area, and then later this week, exhibiting my photography at the five day Tubac Festival of the Arts. It sends shivers of excitement up and down my spine, and shivers of apprehension, too.

I’ve done art shows in the Midwest. I’m a Midwestern, born and bred, though sometimes I think the gods screwed up and I should have been born a desert rat as much as I seek sun and warmth. So now I’m adding shows in the Southwest.  It seems like a good alternative to waiting out the blizzards in Wisconsin and Illinois, waiting until May to start doing art fairs again. It seems like a solid business decision. After all, it makes good sense – me away from the gray of winter at the time of year when the weather most affects my moods, me using my time profitably to add a few shows, and me challenging myself to live solo for a couple of months.

I’ll admit the few hours before we left Madison yesterday were the most difficult. I roamed rooms, looked out every window in the house, carried my black cat in my arms as she purred and as I worried about how much I would miss Jazz and how much she might miss me. After all, I’m her people. And while the cat sitter, and then Sherpa, will do a commendable job of caring for her, I’m the one Jazz comes to for a cuddle, or a treat, or a warm lap for a nap.

I began having second and third and fourth thoughts, and I was teary eyed when we were finally all packed and drove away from the house. Sure, I know it’s only two months. But at that moment, two months sounded like eternity.

And then, serendipitously, I saw this highway sign. South. West. Business. Like a message from the Universe, or at least from Wisconsin’s Highway Department, a not so subtle sign encouraging me to push on, to pursue my dreams.

Today we travel through a bit more of Iowa, then Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. As for me, I’m holding steady and keeping the compass on SW!


Bo Mackison is the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She will be living in Tucson for the next eight weeks, taking daily opportunities to visit deserts and desert gardens while practicing her photography, and blogging about learning to live on her own. Visit as she writes about living and working in Tucson. Her mantra is “Bo goes solo!”

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. …kitty…*sigh*

    Hey, the signs don’t lie! Enjoy:)

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Nope, signs don’t lie. And the kitty has more resilience than I give her credit for. But she’ll probably be a bit stand offish when I return–for the first half hour!

  2. You and the universe have a gift for signs. That’s a good sign. I have John Hyatt crooning “Drive South” for you!

  3. Bo, I’ll be thinking about you on your journey. It’s an inspiration. Jazz is really going to miss you, but the two months will fly by! Here’s to making Great Effort towards our Art. And taking time and energy away from normal routines. It’s not easy. Can’t wait to see what develops!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      It is a weird feeling, QM, to know my routine will change so drastically, but I am looking forward (mostly) to the challenge! And for sure I am looking forward to the change in weather! 🙂

  4. I would have had trouble leaving the kitty (or in my case, kitties) too. I’m sure Jazz will be fine and when you return think, “Oh, were you away?” (Because cats are like that.)

    The sign (or SIGN) is great! And if you needed another reminder of why you’re going, that HUGE pile of snow ought to clinch it for you. 😉

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Yep, cats ARE like that! And I’d taken note of that snow pile, too. Oh yes, another good reason to head south.

  5. Joanna Paterson says:

    Isn’t it fabulous when you get signs like that!

    I understand the cat thing, totally, I left mine for 3 months a few years ago when I went to Mexico for a grand adventure. He was fine, just fine (it’s you that gets the heartache bit, your cat will be fine)

  6. Joanne Keevers says:

    Bo, many years ago I left my Siamese cat at boarding kennels for just one week and when I came home he meowed so much his voice went hoarse! It will be an interesting post for us, in two months time when you return home, as to her reaction on seeing you again. 🙂

  7. Seems like it’s the right time Bo, in several different ways. Best of luck!

  8. It’s a SIGN!!! You are on the right track, Bo. I wish I were going with you…what a grand, amazing opportunity and adventure.

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