Desert Sun – A Poem on Faith

Arizona Desert

sonoran desert sunset © 2012 Bo Mackison

“There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it” ~ Gustave Flaubert

I shield my eyes from the intensity of burning desert sun
desert heat rises and
sears my soul my
searching soul
seeking light that surrounds but is not seen.

I sink into the sand-earth
earth carved hollow from desiccated cactus roots,
disappeared thigh deep into the desert underground and
imagine rattlesnake burrows and packrat middens in the seconds
it takes for me to pull myself onto firm ground.

Terra firma.
Be not distraught.

The sun drops off the edge of the world and
night slips in quietly to
settle on my shoulders, oh the
star shimmer that lights the way
it stuns me, evokes cries of praise from my
oft-silenced voice.

I have journeyed long
endless cycle of sunrises and sunsets
the ascent and descent of countless moons

Now a multitude of stars light the heavens
milky streams of light
and with faith bound tight in starlight

I await the return of the sun.


Celebrating Poetry Month by posting (daily) from my collection of desert poetry, mostly mine, but with a few desert classics added to mix. Mining old blog post, journals, margins of desert-themed books, crumpled pieces of notebook paper in my desk drawer, and other places of possibility.

Traveling to the Desert – Day Two


January 1, 2016.

400 miles done and 1400 miles to drive. Smack dab in the center of Missouri.

New Year’s Day. There’s a new year’s tradition — or is it superstition? — “what you do on New Year’s Day, you’ll do all year long.” Well, there you have it — a year filled with travel!

Crossing Missouri — began by driving across the Mississippi River and drove until we crossed the Missouri River in Kansas City.

I say “mi-zour-ee.” Do you say “mah-zour-ah?”

Small herds of cattle and farms in eastern Missouri; more horses and small ranches driving further west.

I saw an owl, a brown and white barred owl, standing on the side of the highway, as if he were studying the road that stretched in front of me. Ten in the morning. I can only think the owl was a good journey omen. This was not the only encounter on the drive to the desert I had with birds. They accompanied me west in the most extraordinary ways.


500 miles done and 1300 miles to go.

Stopped for barbecue southwest of Kansas City, Kansas.

Oh. Yum. Not in Wisconsin any longer, Dorothy.


600 miles done; 1200 more. A third of the way.

Eastern Kansas. Flint Hills.


700 miles done; still 1100 more. 7-11s. Lucky numbers. Just as the afternoon was getting long, just when I needed a sign… a  gift from the Universe.

A murmuration of starlings. A pulsating cloud of birds, dipping, dancing. The flock expanded, then contracted. Dipped towards the fields, then swooped high into the sky.

A most serendipitous sight.




900 miles done, 900 more to go.

Kansas on the diagonal. Northeast to southwest.

From Wichita to Liberal. The road is straight. The land is flat.

Every small town has a grain elevator. Grain elevators are the most interesting subject for photos in Kansas, at least I think so. especially when driving late afternoon into the night. The light catches the metal containers — some quite ordinary,  but many in unexpected, even spectacular ways.


1000 miles left behind in the rear view mirror. 800 miles still ahead.

Driving into the sunset.

Kansas flat. Horizon orange, deepening into red the color of blood and lingering deep into twilight. A thin red line in the black.


Since driving and arriving are the priority for this trip, all photos are drive by.

Using my iPhone and Hipstamatic filters set on random (though still available for some post processing when desired) add a sense of photo adventure with a modicum of control.


Honolulu – Change is in the Air


Sailboats and Surfers on Golden Seas

Mark Twain is famously quoted as saying “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait five minutes.” I imagine this would be true in most of the United States, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so true in Hawaii. Hawaii, to this Midwestern born and raised woman’s way of thinking, meant sunshine. And true, I was blessed with sunny skies much of the time I was traveling the islands.


Setting Sun

Bright skies, glowing sunsets sliding below glowing horizons.



After the Sunset

And circus colored remnants once the sun had set.


Honolulu Gray Skies

But just as often I could turn around and see the nearby mountains cloaked in gray. I’d be walking along the streets under sunny skies, wondering where I’d misplaced my sunglasses, and then the sun would disappear above the clouds. I no longer needed sunglasses. Instead I needed an umbrella.


Catch a Rainbow

And I really didn’t need an umbrella for long, only an awning to shelter from the rain. Within minutes, the skies lightened and the famous Hawaii rainbow appeared.


Rainbow Reward

Five minutes was plenty of time for a change. Rain. Sun. Windy. Calm. Or a rainbow as reward.

Twilight and Transition – Shadows Deepen Upon the Earth

Prairie Twilight

Wisconsin Twilight © 2014 Bo Mackison

“I love that the morning’s sunrise does not define itself by last night’s sunset.” ~ Steve Maraboli

Last evening, twilight was not a fiery, orange blaze sunset, filling the sky with colors indescribable.

It was instead of red ball burning through the haze of clouds, dropping off the horizon in grays with streaks of pinks. A quiet affair, as sunsets go. Still awe-inspiring. Always awe-inspiring.

I watch every sunrise and sunset, weather permitting. It is ritual for me.

They mark the beginning and the end of each day cycle for me, not only their beauty, but deeply in my consciousness. Beginnings. Endings.

Tonight ends and so ends this day, and I have done all I can.

Morning comes and I begin yet another day. What opportunities will this day offer? What opportunities will I accept? No comparisons required, no “this sunset was better than yesterday’s sunset”.

Each sunset – magnificent. Every sunrise – a blessing and a gift.

Endings and beginnings.

It is a lesson repeated daily. It’s easy to grasp on to what is, resistant to what is yet to come. And still sunrise follows sunset, endlessly throughout our brief time on this earth.

Always an ending, always a beginning.

November Sky Watch

November Sunset over Lake Kegonsa

November Sunset over Lake Kegonsa © 2013 Bo Mackison

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

We had a string of days with lots of clouds, and little sunlight. And then yesterday, as we were driving south of Madison, the sun streamed through a narrow space between heavy cloud cover and horizon. We were treated to a few moments of sunshine and then a blood-red sunset.

So I give thanks to the clouds, for adding such stunning color to my sunset stripe.