Oak Leaves Amidst the Snow

Oak Leaves And Snowy Tree Trunks

Oak Leaves And Snowy Tree Trunks © 2012 Bo Mackison

“Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods,
if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature.
Be cold and hungry and weary.” ~ Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

The skies are a bright blue and the snow’s brightness has turned this wintry wonderland into a glittering reflection of light. I love the woods when the trees wear winter white thanks to the blowing blizzard and the sideways falling snow. And I especially like the contrast of the brown oak leaves, still on the trees.

The snow was perfectly timed to greet the official beginning of winter.


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

The newest issue of Sprout Magazine , edited by Amanda Fall, is now available for download and purchase. I am pleased to be included in such a wonderful group of gifted and inspiring contributors. This issue’s theme is simplicity.

The Mighty Oak

Owen Park

Oak Tree ©2012 Bo Mackison

In creating, the only hard thing is to begin: a grass blade’s no easier to make than an oak. ~ James Russell Lowell

I returned from a photography conference a week ago. The conference was all that I had expected, and more. The workshops were on presentation techniques and the creation of fine art pieces. There was a printing symposium and narratives from photographers who set their focus on long-term creative goals and who, after years of planning and work, realized completed art. There were gallery walks, visiting photography galleries in the Loop. And a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Photography – cutting edge works of photographic based art.

I came home with my head filled with new ideas, new techniques, and a view of a world I had barely known existed. During my first week back home, I thought about the workshops, re-copied some of my illegible notes, checked out websites and blogs from several recommended lists from various workshop leaders. I began to dream of big projects, new paths to follow, finished photography projects that were all shiny and new and so promising.

Then, the everyday world crept back in. There were house shoots to schedule for a bread and breakfast company I do contract work for. There was an art festival to get ready for – check inventory, make out orders for frame parts and glass, print some of my newer photographs for framing. There was Hurricane Sandy to keep an eye on, keeping a long distance watch on my people on the East Coast and inland.

And those dreams that were so vivid and exciting became less so in the responsibilities of the every day.

Except. I am not going to relegate the thrill of the new to a week of living it, and then a week of dreaming about it. If I want to keep the new ideas awake in my head, if I want to try some new creative techniques, if I want to start a long-term project with a completion date, then I need to schedule time on a consistent basis.

And what is this time for? It is time to consider, investigate, dream. To experiment, study, make mistakes, and do again. To live and work on my dream while doing the everyday thing, too.

I have dreams. The dreams are re-forming into goals with baby steps. The baby steps will turn into big steps, and occasional leaps. I have scheduled time into my daily calendar.

This is the time to say yes to big ideas, new ideas, and see where they lead…


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is holding tightly onto new dreams and hopes and goals, while wondering how far she can go…


Owen Park

Beginning of a Snowstorm © 2012 Bo Mackison

Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully he can learn even more. ~ George Washington Carver

The snow predictions were right on target. Yesterday morning at this time it had just begun to snow. Now there are six inches of snow covering the ground. I went out early yesterday, about an hour after the storm whipped into Madison. In the thick of this hardwood  grove, there was the silence of nature. Nothing much to hear, unless I stopped and stood still. And listened. And waited.

The snow pelted the ground without sound, but vibrated the pile of oak leaves still attached to their branch. I heard what sounded like the breath of the wind blowing gently, the tremble of a leaf as the snow fell heavier. A single snowflake would not disturb a single oak leaf, but  a swirl of snowflakes makes the branch of leaves dance.

The birds were silent. The wild turkeys, always a noisy crew, were strutting through another part of the park. No coyotes were out, not in mid-day. I hear them mostly at night, a siren-mimicking whine that always make me listen twice. Am I listening to the warning of a siren or the wailing of the coyotes? Even the squirrels had deserted this area.

My world is often silenced by the fall of snow, it blots out the sounds of man, and requires me to listen carefully to the sounds of the natural world around me.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Bo is exploring winter – close up and quietly.

Overhanging a Winter Path

Overhanging a Winter Path

Overhanging a Winter Path © 2011 Bo Mackison

Your life lies before you like a path of driven snow,
be careful how you tread it ’cause every step will show.
~ Lowri Williams

Oaks in Winter

Oaks in Winter White © 2007

Oak trees hold tight to their leaves
refuse to acknowledge
the passing of autumn
and stand stalwart in the snow,
awaiting spring.

Owen Conservation Park
Madison WI