The Mighty Oak

Owen Park

Oak Tree Β©2012 Bo Mackison

In creating, the only hard thing is to begin: a grass blade’s no easier to make than an oak. ~ James Russell Lowell

I returned from a photography conference a week ago. The conference was all that I had expected, and more. The workshops were on presentation techniques and the creation of fine art pieces. There was a printing symposium and narratives from photographers who set their focus on long-term creative goals and who, after years of planning and work, realized completed art. There were gallery walks, visiting photography galleries in the Loop. And a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Photography – cutting edge works of photographic based art.

I came home with my head filled with new ideas, new techniques, and a view of a world I had barely known existed. During my first week back home, I thought about the workshops, re-copied some of my illegible notes, checked out websites and blogs from several recommended lists from various workshop leaders. I began to dream of big projects, new paths to follow, finished photography projects that were all shiny and new and so promising.

Then, the everyday world crept back in. There were house shoots to schedule for a bread and breakfast company I do contract work for. There was an art festival to get ready for – check inventory, make out orders for frame parts and glass, print some of my newer photographs for framing. There was Hurricane Sandy to keep an eye on, keeping a long distance watch on my people on the East Coast and inland.

And those dreams that were so vivid and exciting became less so in the responsibilities of the every day.

Except. I am not going to relegate the thrill of the new to a week of living it, and then a week of dreaming about it. If I want to keep the new ideas awake in my head, if I want to try some new creative techniques, if I want to start a long-term project with a completion date, then I need to schedule time on a consistent basis.

And what is this time for? It is time to consider, investigate, dream. To experiment, study, make mistakes, and do again. To live and work on my dream while doing the everyday thing, too.

I have dreams. The dreams are re-forming into goals with baby steps. The baby steps will turn into big steps, and occasional leaps. I have scheduled time into my daily calendar.

This is the time to say yes to big ideas, new ideas, and see where they lead…


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is holding tightly onto new dreams and hopes and goals, while wondering how far she can go…

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. Love this image, Bo. πŸ™‚
    The follow-through, the beginning, always seems to be the hardest (as your quote mentions). Scheduling it is a brilliant idea.

  2. Gorgeous image!!! Love the way you caused the Oak leaves to stand out against the silver background. The image shimmers.
    The conference you went to sounds great. I seldom go to photo conferences because I leave disappointed, not having learned much. But, I like the focus your’s had. Could you tell me what conference it was?
    Good for you in scheduling time to work on what you learned. Hard to do, but so important.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I went to the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago in mid October. It’s an annual conference, workshops all week, evening sessions, portfolio reviews on the weekend. An experience well worth me stepping out of my comfort zone! πŸ™‚

  3. You make a good point with the photo and it’s a beautiful one too!

  4. The quote and photo combination is wonderful. What a thought–creative work is creative work, whether it’s a blade of grass or an oak tree.

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