The Filling Tree

Old Oak

Ancient Oak © 2013 Bo Mackison

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” ~ Pablo Picasso

This tree, an ancient oak, stands a few yards from the mown path through meadow and a prairie restoration. Solid, deeply connected in the earth, a tribute to time.

Whenever I pass this tree, I stop. Compelled to stop. I seem unable to walk past the tree without pausing, walking through the brambles and sticks of growing sumac, until I stand next to this giant. Rest my hand on its bark. That’s all. Just rest my hand upon it, and connect its pulse with my pulse. Sap beat. Heart beat.

I think. I wait. I breathe. I peer into he upper most branches. I feel my feet grounded on the earth, as the tree is grounded the earth. I run my finger through along the ridges and the valleys of the wood. I see pictures in its wavy trunk lines. I listen the woodpecker’s drumming. I stand in the shadow of the tree, and notice the breeze that swirls around the both of us. The experience fills me.

And then I continue on my walk.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She explores wherever she goes, with and without her camera.

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. Gandalf says:

    The pause that refreshes. Very nice.

  2. That tree certainly displays character. I think too, that at some level it understands.

  3. Great job bringing out the beauty of the bark.

  4. So beautifully told that I wept. Seriously. The Filling Tree, indeed.

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