Boarded Window – from “The Barrier Series” on Art and Healing

Warehouse in Winter

Boarded Window © 2011 Bo Mackison

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. ~ Viktor E Frankl, in Man’s Search for Himself



This barrier, solid.
No light, no sunshine, no blue skies,
nothing natural except the brittle vines.

Impenetrable barrier.
Frozen exterior, my world.
The bushes are skeletal in their winter bareness.

Dead vines cling to the bricks,
hang from the window’s edge,
collect in piles on the ledge.

The decorative bricks offer some respite,
though the window is boarded. Invisibility.

And yet, it’s been patched neatly, blue paint.
Sealed from view but with care,
What inside is worth protection?

And the vines?
Dead and withered, but the hidden roots,
alive, are under the snowy depths,
warm enough in the earth.
Roots which will sprout tenderly alive green shoots
in the spring.

This phase, the deep winter of my spirit-break –
a period of dormancy.

Winter’s wait for the thaw, for the return of spring.

— based on journal entries, 1990


The second photograph in the barrier series correlates to the time when I became unable to keep up with life’s day-to-day expectations and demands. I constructed a barrier, much like this, deep in my psyche, to provide myself with space and time, waiting for the passage of winter.

It was a time of silent waiting.


Over the next two weeks, I’m re-posting an 11-part series I first ran in January, 2013 on art and healing. Feeling vulnerable doing this once again, but this message is too important to keep buried in the bowels of my blog. It is my hope that my journey will also inspire others. We are all on a journey of one kind or another. We are all pilgrims following our path.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.

Leave a Reply