The Bridge – Photo Heart Connection

Savanna-Sabula Bridge III

Savanna-Sabula Bridge © 2012 Bo Mackison

 There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning. ~ Thornton Wilder

When I decide upon my photograph for my monthly Photo-Heart Connection entry, it is often because there is a story connected with it. This month’s photograph follows the pattern.

The Savanna-Sabula Bridge crosses the Mississippi River and connects the island city of Sabula, Iowa to the river hugging town of Savanna, Illinois. I’ve lived in the Midwest all of my life, and have spent many a day traveling the roads that border the Mississippi, but until I crossed this lovely bridge, I never knew there was an “island city” in Iowa. I think of farmland and cornfields when I think of Iowa, not island cities. And certainly not island cities with the character of Sabula.

First, the bridge spans the Mississippi River, then crosses Sheepshead Bay, and manages to find enough land for the bridge supports as it crosses Israel Day Lake, Town Lake, and Dog Wood Lake. Finally we reached the small island-city of Sabula – we were on solid land, for a while.

Sabula has the BEST ice cream sundae I have ever had – and I come from the Dairy State and have had more than my share of ice cream sundaes. The Korner Ice Cream Shop, a tiny walk up, is easy to find. It comes into view just as you enter town from the bridge.

Then we drove the river-side streets of Sabula – old mansions with sit-down-and-rest-awhile-porches, widow’s walks, views of the river life. I imagine in earlier years,, these were quite the places to visit during the warm summer months.

And there’s more. Driving out-of-town toward mainland Iowa, we crossed one more lake, Sabula Lake. And we saw a flock of Great American Pelicans – probably 200 birds, all floating closely together as they churned the waters with their webbed feet, stirring up their dinner. I’m certain I have never seen a single pelican near the Mississippi River, so this was a big treat indeed. (Lots of photo, too!)

But best of all, I shared all these experiences with Sherpa, my hubby, who is always willing to accompany me on a Sunday camera shoot, always happy to check out a new ice cream shop or cross a new bridge. Even after 36 years!

A road trip, the discovery of new wonderful places, and great company. Ingredients for a perfect photo heart connection.

This is a year-long practice with a community of photographers.  As Kat Sloma explains on her blog, Kat Eye View, “Deepen the connection between your photos and your heart and soul by participating in this monthly review of your images, to find the one that best connects to your heart.” All are welcome.


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

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.


  1. Just perfect, it’s always fun discovering new places and ice-cream is just the cherry on top!

  2. I love to discover new places to visit and take pictures. This sounds like somewhere I would love to visit.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Sometimes, I find the places where I least expect to linger, are the ones that call to me, over and over. Sabula is one such place!

  3. Great photo and wonderful photo-heart connection indeed

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thanks, Ginny. It is so interesting, going through a month’s worth of photos and seeing which one calls out!

  4. You nicely captured the fascinating structure of this bridge. I like that it is part silhouette and part blue.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      It IS a lovely, old fashioned type of bridge, and leads through such marvelous islands and waterways!

  5. Kat Sloma says:

    “A road trip, the discovery of new wonderful places, and great company.” Those are ingredients for a perfect Photo-Heart Connection for me too! I love the importance of storytelling in your heart connections, Bo. It is always fun to come here and see the stories!

  6. This is such a beautiful story and I love how you documented it with this great image! Photo trips with someone else are always so enjoyable!!

  7. What a great find and a great story. Love your image too, glorious bridge!

  8. Wow what an impressive bridge, happy you can take that with your hubby after so many years, hope you can do that again and again in a lot of other places to.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Elsie, thank you, and I am a fortunate photographer as my husband does like to go along for the ride!

  9. I think bridges are always fascinating.

  10. An island in Iowa? Pelicans in Iowa? As impressive and charming as everything sounds, and it does, I’m just as impressed by Sherpa and his joy in being with you on road trips. Lovely post, dearie. XO

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Ah, sweet Debi! Yes, islands in Iowa, pelicans in Iowa, and a husband who takes long road trips through Iowa with his camera toting wife — what is the world coming to. LOL.

  11. Great connection… you’ve made me want to visit Sabula island!

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