Still in Honolulu – Exploring the Banyan Tree


This towering banyan tree, complete with benches around its circumference, is located outside the Honolulu Zoo. I spent some quiet time bench sitting and people watching on a stroll from Waikiki to Diamond Head.

The banyan tree is a common botanical feature of Hawaii even though it is not native to the islands. Their canopies are vast, the larger ones spreading up to a hundred and fifty feet across.


Banyan trees are characterized by their prop roots that grow to support the expansive limbs. Trees spread laterally and can cover wide areas. I love the look of the roots as they drip towards the earth, seeking a firm footing.


The trees are native to the tropics and subtropics and were brought to the Hawaiian Islands in the late 1800s by missionaries from India.


Amazing roots. They can eventually become as large as the original trunk. And they make perfect roosts for the local birds and greats nooks for a game of hide and seek.



Rootedness – A Desert Wisdom Card

Rooted - Desert Wisdom Card

Rooted © 2013 Bo Mackison

Through our willingness to be the one we are, we become one with everything.
~ Gunilla Norris

Plants that live in the desert have evolved to thrive in a land of little water.

Some plants develop deep, thick roots that reach many feet into the desert soil. They use water sources that are far below the earth’s surface.

A deep root system provides other benefits as well. With strong roots, plants stay grounded and maintain a firm footing on the earth, even when buffeted by harsh desert winds and monsoonal storms. And the plants do not require rainfall to survive, they have adapted to withstand drought using adaptive, internal structures.

We are also beings on this earth. We are connected to the earth.

We require roots to stay grounded, to keep a firm footing, to survive and thrive. To take optimal care of the self, it is essential that we tend our roots — deep roots of connection that are life-sustaining.

To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.
~ Simone Weil

ROOTEDNESS offers questions/reflections for journal writing, art prompts, and calls to action:

  • Perform a grounding ritual. Find a convenient space outside where you can actually make physical contact with the earth. Not a piece of pavement, but the earth – grassy yard, meadow, sandy beach, desert soil. Stand quietly, feel the solid earth beneath your feet. Bare feet produce great results, but wear foot covering appropriate for your environment and comfort level.
  • Just as a desert plant has a core root for sustainability, we have core values that keep us firmly established, that define who we are and sustain us. Reflect on several of your values that are the essential you. How are they life-sustaining? How do these values show up in the routines of your daily life?
  • My grandmother’s parents immigrated from Germany, and German was her first language. Decades later, my grandmother spoke only English, but she remembered the songs and ditties from her youth. When her children and grandchildren were young, she soothed them lullabies and children’s songs in German. I remember the feelings these melodies in an unfamiliar language evoked. They communicated a message of love and belonging. What childhood songs, rhymes, or games do you remember that rekindle a deep feeling of belonging, of rootedness?
  • Connect to your inner core by doing activities you enjoyed in your youth. Did you jump rope, hula hoop or play hopscotch? Try one of these activities. Muse, draw, or write about your experience. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to add some activities from your youth to your exercise routine.
  • While chalkboard chalk is becoming a thing of the past, sidewalk chalk is an easy-to-find art supply. What might you do with a box of colored chalk? The obvious — drawing pictures on sidewalks — is great fun, and since expectations are minimal, you can easily lose yourself in this expressive process. Add an uplifting message. Write a famous quote or a few lines from a favorite poem. Add an observation. The options are endless.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  Bo is creating a deck of Desert Wisdom Cards for exploration and discovery, using photography, with a Sonoran Desert theme – its myths and stories, cultures and heritage, and the desert’s remarkable natural beauty and resources.

Living on the Edge

Maybe a Lake View Wasn’t Such a Good Idea?

Tree with a Lake View © 2007

I am not an adventurer by choice, but by fate. ~ Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

This tree took root on the edge of a rocky precipice. Will there be a plunge into Lake Michigan in its near future?

Photographed in Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek, Wisconsin