Make Acceptance Your Friend. There Will Be Violets.


I See No Gate…Until I Do  ©2015 Bo Mackison

Stop fixing, stop pushing, stop forcing my will.
All that fixing and pushing and forcing…
none of it makes any difference.

The advice is solid and intellectually
I agree. Of course I see the folly
of relentless effort with no results.

The billy-goat butts a fence and never sees the gate a step away,
I’m fenced in, too, the opening’s within my glance.
Yet with eyes fixed on the ground, I walk in circles.

A gate? I see no gate…until I do.

The whisper of acceptance slips through the gate.
Such a tiny breath it takes as it draws near.

I ignore the whisper. (I’m stubborn that way.)

I hide under blankets where no breeze refreshes.
That doesn’t stop acceptance from nuzzling my ear,
whisper-singing lullabies of ease and calm.

No promises does acceptance offer,
but its ever quiet manner calls attention
to the wisdom of letting go.

My grandfather, he would say
“tell it like it is, then be done.”
He was quiet man, my grandfather, and he was wise.

And I say, I am not sorry.
About the fight. This fight
I swore I’d never quit.

I fought hard in the midst of the whole miserable affair.
Depression as my foe; my best friend, too.
My bed partner and life partner. My lover and destroyer.

I cried the battle cries, bled from nearly fatal wounds.
And now I see, acceptance is the harder battle.

I’m calling it quits. And shaking hands with acceptance.
No more cowering when fear overwhelms,
no smashing glass walls in anger.

All the messes in my life, I’d like to call them friends,
say I’ve learned from those experiences.
Some day I’ll speak those words. With courage.

For the record, it’s been one crap shoot
after another, unpredictable. Risky.
And still, here I stand and say.

This life. It’s a good one.
Violets blossom in the grass, my shoes well soaked with dew.

My Life Manifesto (For Today)


Rainbow in Stormy Sky © 2015 Bo Mackison

This I believe. I am alive.

Fully, completely, eyes-wide-open alive.

There were a hundred times when I could have given up,
said “no more” or made a different choice —
not an easier choice,  just a different choice.

And still, I am alive.

I celebrate the perfect alignment of the stars,
the constant roll of the waves, the greening of spring once more,
and the miracle of my patchwork life.

There are times when I search for my life’s work,
question what I have done of worth, what good am I doing now.

And then, this realization. Stunning.

Thus far, my work has been to survive.
Survival is my life work.
It is good work, worthy work, honest work, hard work.

This. This I need to remember.

When I ask countless questions that have no answers,
when I wonder why; when I tremble with fear
and anxiety; when I grieve; when I despair or doubt.

There is always this.

I am doing my work. That is enough.

Listening to the Trees – They Speak of Ancient Life

Tree Overhanging Walnut Canyon © 2014 Bo Mackison

Tree Overhanging the  Canyon © 2014 Bo Mackison

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

~ Hermann Hesse

Practice Resurrection — Photographs to Wendell Berry’s Manifesto

All Text: Excerpted from “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”  by Wendell Berry

Yellow Cabs

Yellow Cabs © 2013 Bo Mackison

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

Pop Art Shopping Carts

Pop Art Shopping Carts © 2011 Bo Mackison

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

Garden Water Pump in Sanford Farm Garden, Old World Wisconsin

Farm Garden, Old World Wisconsin © 2012 Bo Mackison

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Redwood Abstract

Redwood Abstract © 2013 Bo Mackison

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

What's in this Pond?

In this Pond © 2012 Bo Mackison

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

West Bluff, Devils Lake State Park

West Bluff © 2014 Bo Mackison

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Spreading Joy

Coneflower Joy © 2013 Bo Mackison

Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.

Lavender Fields and Bee Boxes

Lavender Fields and Bee Boxes © 2013 Bo Mackison

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

The Path Beyond

The Path Beyond © 2011 Bo Mackison

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.

Kure Beach Sunrise, November 8, 2013

Kure Beach Sunrise © 2013 Bo Mackison

Practice resurrection.


Excerpts from “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”  by Wendell Berry

Inspired by blog post How to Practice Resurrection and Earth Day Every Day, Through the Luminary Lens  by Bruce Thomas Witzel

Changing Season

Changing of the Seasons

Changing Season © 2012 Bo Mackison

Some of my friends are honoring this day in their special ways. Today is Yom Kippur. It began yesterday at sundown and continues until sundown today. Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement. It is the day the Great Book is opened and one’s name either is or isn’t written in its pages for another year. I’m told some people spend their day in temple praying and listening to sermons.

Others practice in their own way, spending their time in recollection and reflection, using the day to consider the lives they have lived, to consider the life they hope to live in the coming year, the coming years, however many that may be.

It is certainly a day that urges the consideration of one’s mortality.

There is no specific day in my year set aside for atonement, or to recall the last year and assess how I did in this practice of mine called living. There is no day set aside specially for the purpose of considering how I hope to live my life in the coming year, or even the coming years.

New Year’s Day, January 1st, doesn’t do it. Happy New Year doesn’t give much serious time for assessment and goal setting, for apology and hope setting. I find it hard to think deeply when the party horns are going off next door, though I do like a few rounds of Auld Lang Syne. For some reason, the melody of that song seems to lead me into a deep thought space. (I’m mixing holidays!)

I do hope my Jewish friends do not mind if I borrow from their solemn High Holy Day, and spend some time today walking in the frost-nipped garden, taking account of how I lived this past year, and setting intentions, filled with hope, for the coming year. Doubtless, I have the theology all wrong, but I do believe my intention is worthy, and an evaluation of the practice of living is valuable practice for each of us, not just those who call this day Yom Kippur.

In this season of change – trees in my neighborhood have turned yellow and red in the past few days remind me that colder days are not on their way any longer, they have arrived – in this season of change, I ponder what it is that I need to change in my life. Of course I could brush off that question with “I need to change just about everything” and decide that even the thinking part is too hard, so I won’t try to change anything. Or I could pick one thing and at least reflect on how it shows up in my life each day. A few minutes, at the end of my meditation walk, seems to be a good time for a minute summary.

So with that in mind, I will reflect how fear shows up in my life, and how I react to and interact with fear. It seems a good first step. I need to have awareness before I can decide on specific steps for change. Fear and I are old companions. It is time, I’m quite sure, that I need to spend less time with him.

I looked up some of the traditional greetings for this day. One of them is “G’mar Hatimah Tovah” or “May You Be Sealed for a Good Year (in the Book of Life).

It is greeting that carries an awareness, a reflection. A soul-searching question in a greeting.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She also finds nuggets of inspiration in many of the worlds’ cultures, religions, and practices.