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.

Red Rock Overlooking Colorado River Canyon – Wilderness and Beyond

Overlooking Colorado River

Red Rock Overlooking Colorado River Canyon ©2014 Bo Mackison

“But love of the wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need – if only we had eyes to see.” ~ Edward Abbey

Listening to the Land

Before the Storm

Storm Watch © 2013 Bo Mackison

There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks.
Most of the time we are simply not patient enough,
quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.
~ Linda Hogan, in Listening to the Land

I spend a lot of time out in nature, standing on the land. Grounding myself in the present. On watch. Listening to the sky as the clouds rumble into each other, listening as the dust blows across the earth, contemplating where the dirt road with the missing gate would take me if I chose to walk its lines.

I believe that this is one of the gifts I was given at this time in my life. I have time, time enough to stand and silently absorb the story of the earth. I have the time it takes to be patient. I have the time it takes to be fully quiet. I live a life of pacing. I am blessed that I can life my life slowly.

If I have the time to listen to the land, then surely I have time to also listen to the inhabitants of this land.

I read an article not so long ago regarding the customs of greeting people. We give automatic responses to each other to one of life’s important questions. “How are you?” we ask, routinely, not waiting for any sort of meaningful response. Even eye to eye contact would be a small gift in this exchange, an acknowledgement. “Yes, I see you. I honor you as a fellow human being.” But busy lives often prevent even the most fleeting moments of connection.

As a practice, it is harder than I think it should be. I’ve been intentionally practicing this for quite a few weeks now. With store checkers and baggers, with gas station attendants, with people I pass on the street. A simple hello and a meeting of the eyes. Sometimes I find it incredibly difficult, and I wonder if it is a practice that we have learned to curtail as a society?

So I continue to practice. And pay attention to the story I am hearing.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.



Windswept ©2013 Bo Mackison

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

And that when we no longer know the way which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.

~ Wendell Berry

My old ways, my tried and tested ways, no longer seem to fit. What happens when the stories I’ve lived these many years feel too small and restrict my breathing, my feelings, my actions? There is a spark on the edge of the shadow, and it shimmers.

The wind sweeps in, brushing away the old, allowing space for the new to take seed, grow and thrive.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is exploring creative photography and emotion in a  series called Desert Lines – a combination of visual lines and written lines.

The Road Goes On and On

Farm Along the Road

Wisconsin Road © 2013 Bo Mackison

“The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can, pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say.”  ~ J.R.R Tolkien

There are new roads to follow, new pursuits, new people to meet, new things to see, new photography projects to begin.

Anticipating the beginning, once again, of a journey that leads me through the heart of the country, south and then west, until I reach the deserts and mountains.

Soon. Soon.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She divides her time between Madison Wisconsin, Tucson Arizona, and the routes that join these places.