Calling Forth Courage while Contemplating Lessons from Nature

Bridge over Starkweather Creek

Bridge over Starkweather Creek © 2014 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…

If I did surrender to the earth’s intelligence?
Surrender to the earth itself, like a seed dispersed in autumns’ winds.

And drop upon the earth – dark, dank, ripe. Drop upon the earth
and settle in, as layers of leaves and autumn litter cover me, intact, protected.


Crossing the Footbridge © 2014 Bo Mackison

So like children, we begin again…

to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

This seed of me, it embraces the darkness
and in the waning light, holding my stories of decay and decline,
enters a period where the only light source is that of inner reflection.

Embraces shadow as darkness makes ready the parts hungering for new life.
Waiting, waiting
in anticipation of unlimited possibilities.

Kangaroo Lake in Door County – The Magic of Studying Details, Then Turning Around

Kangaroo Lake

Kangaroo Lake – South View © 2014 Bo Mackison

The mid-October day was mercurial – one moment skies were blue, the next a wave of gray clouds pushed in from nearby Lake Michigan. Blustery winds buffeted me, causing me to lose my balance more than once. Then calm would descend for a brief respite for the wind and chill.

October in Door County, for sure, Wisconsin’s northeastern most point, a peninsula sticking out into tempestuous Lake Michigan.

Kangaroo Lake is one of the more protected places on the peninsula in fresh water lake in the center of Door County, and a wonderful place to go during the autumn festival days. Most of the crowd who comes to enjoy the views hug the shore of Door County, bay side and lake side. But there is much to be said for the wild beauty of the interior, too.

I loved studying the autumn changes of Kangaroo lake, standing on a narrow bridge of road that crosses the northern most bay. Fallen leaves were bobbing on the surface, the reeds were stripped of there green finery and their fuzzy seeds, and stood knee deep in the cold, stunningly blue water. Beyond, fir trees lined one side of the lake, and deciduous trees in this year’s last blaze of glory hugged the opposite side.

Then the sun disappeared in the scattered clouds.

Once I had taken in the scene with all my senses, as is my habit, I turn around to see what is behind me.

Kangaroo Lake

Kangaroo Lake – North View  © 2014 Bo Mackison

And the sun slid from the cloud cover, causing the lake ripples to shimmer in a sheet of dancing light.

A solitary island caught my attention. Birds were darting from the trees to the water and back again. Creatures were slipping in and out of the shadows and the shoreline brush.

Kangaroo Lake — its two faces. Both to be explored and adored.

Fierce Winds. Fierce Rains. Fierce Color. And an Awakening.

Fall Foliage at Peninsula State Park, Door County Wisconsin

Aspen and Yellow © 2014 Bo Mackison

The winds were fierce, the rains were fierce. Deep in the forest, the rain turned misty. The bright leaves shimmered in yellows and oranges. I followed a muddy path through the forest, trees clumped tightly together, clinging high along the cliffs above Lake Michigan.

Fall Foliage at Peninsula State Park, Door County Wisconsin

Middle Road, Peninsula State Park, Door County Wisconsin © 2014 Bo Mackison

Traveling the Middle Road, nearly deserted because of the inclement weather, a bit like a ride through Middle Earth. Sights of bright trees, sounds of creaking branches, leaves twirling to the ground. An awakening of the senses.

Fall Foliage at Peninsula State Park, Door County Wisconsin

Sanctuary in the Forest © 2014 Bo Mackison

Deep in the forest, the rains stop. Leaves drip, the path is soggy-slippery. And the quiet is held in a heavy tapestry of quaking yellow. Sacred.

Fall Foliage at Peninsula State Park, Door County Wisconsin

Gripping the Earth © 2014 Bo Mackison

Tree roots gripping the earth. I grip the earth. Fierce in determination. Fierce in the sacred. I find myself awakening deep in the forest, soaked with rain, feeling so aware, so alive.

Beauty in an Autumn Fog

Autumn Fog

Autumn Fog © 2013 Bo Mackison

“In nature, everything has a job. The job of the fog is to beautify further the existing beauties!” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan

I have been waiting for the sun to brighten the landscapes in the Madison area.

I had a list of places I wanted to visit during Wisconsin’s beautiful autumn. I waited and waited. And those magical sun-filled days did not appear. I held on so tightly to the idea of “need sun for this explore” and eventually I had to cross several places off my list – places that close for the season on October 31st.

Yesterday I finally took a long look at the calendar, and realized I was not getting a single one of all those October days back. True, it’s been a busy, eventful month, but there were days when I changed plans due to weather, thinking I could fit a visit in when the weather was more suitable. Yesterday, I realized there were only two days left in October, and I had not visited many of the places I usually visit to soak in the autumn beauty.

It was foggy, a bit misty. But I pulled out my winter coat, waterproof and warm, and went for a walk in a nearby park. The fog was moody, thick in some places on the trail, but it offered an interesting color intensity that I would likely have missed if I were walking in bright sunlight. In the gray mist, the colors that do show through are mystical and mesmerizing. An unexpected gift.

Today it is no longer foggy. The rain has washed the foggy blanket away. Perhaps today is a good enough day to explore a rainy autumn day.


Disclosure: There are several good reasons why I pack up and head to Arizona for the dark seasons of the year. I do love Arizona’s stark beauty fiercely. I also love her sunshine., especially since I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the lack of sun plays havoc with my biological chemistry. I delayed my travels this year, for the very best of reasons, and decided to play it smart once I noticed the effects the diminishing sunlight had on my moods and energy levels. I have a thing about taking medications, but there is a time when it is the right call. The treatment appears to be helping, hence the photos of the park in yesterday’s fog.

Arizona Sycamores in Autumn

Sycamore in Autumn

Arizona Sycamore in Autumn © 2012 Bo Mackison

I live in the desert, but I am only a fifteen minute drive from one of the Sky Islands, the Santa Rita Mountains. And in the riparian area of the Madera Canyon the sycamores are still dressed in their autumn colors.

Madera Canyon

Madera Canyon ©2012 Bo Mackison

Arizona sycamores grow in riparian habitats. In Arizona, these habitats bordering a river or other waterway make up only  one percent of the total land area. Yet these narrow strips along streams and canyon bottoms hold the greatest diversity of plants and animals of any habitat type. Birds and wildlife flock to these areas. Large numbers of plants live in these corridors that cannot survive in the more arid lands.

Madera Canyon

Red and Green in the Riparian Corridor ©2012 Bo Mackison

Riparian areas are often seen as green ribbons in the landscape. But in autumn, they take on a different character, a mix of green and red. The leaves are already falling though. Soon the riparian areas will return to their more typical green.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She has returned to her winter home in the Sonoran Desert and is already exploring her favorite places.