How The Light Gets In

Cactus Scars

Cactus Scars © 2013 Bo Mackison

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi

As I walked back to my car after walking the labyrinth,  I followed a path through the desert scape, winding around rocky protuberances, around saguaros. Walking the labyrinth was more of an experience than I’d anticipated. I left somewhat shaken, off-balance. Literally finding my footing on the rough, rock-strewn path required my focus. I stumbled once, but jabbed my hiking stick off path to keep myself from falling.

As I righted myself, I glanced to the side of the path. The sunlight streaked through the landscape, highlighting a fist sized wound in a saguaro. It was enough to make me pause.

The saguaro was three times my height, and had four or five arms; it was possibly two hundred years old. Numerous scars, cracked surfaces and more than a few wounds covered its surface. Yet the sun rays cast a luminescence around the cactus, casting shadows from its thorns, and leading my eye to the largest opening at my eyes’ height.

I thought of the quote by Rumi, the wound allowing the light to enter.

And I thought of the lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s, song, Anthem:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
~ from Anthem, Leonard Cohen

It made so much sense. The wounds, the cracks, the imperfections – they allow the light to enter, that’s how the light gets in.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is exploring photography, poetry, and emotion in a new series featuring desert lines.

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. I love all of these quotes, they have helped to keep me sane, through some tough ‘ off balance’ periods. Something else I pondered – scar skin tissue is stronger than the surrounding skin, our wounds really do make for tougher vessels!

    Appreciating this series. :~)

    • Bo Mackison says:

      It does seem there are *gifts* which tough times offer – for one, as you said, they make for tougher vessels. Thanks, Sue.

  2. What a beautiful quote to accompany this ethereal..magical image! So true – that it’s thru those cracks that we grow and heal. And – I learned that they are woodpeckers who peck holes in the cactii like this??

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Gila woodpeckers peck holes. Owls sometimes live in the cavities. All kinds of creatures think saguaros are a great micro habitat.

  3. I love the image and the quote.

  4. Inspirational. I’m so impressed by the way you package experience, image and the perfect quotes. It’s a gift. SO happy I have found your blog, found you. XO

  5. Beautiful post, in words and image. It’s wonderful to see some sunlight on this gray and gloomy morning. 🙂

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