The Sidewalk Heart

It's the Maple Seed

Maple Seed in a Sidewalk Heart © 2012 Bo Mackison

What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow.  ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

This is a photograph of a metaphor for marriage.

See the pretty heart? It was carved out of a part of the pavement on a city sidewalk in Chicago. That seems appropriate. Sherpa and I met on a city street, in Chicago, almost 39 years ago. A stylized heart, such as this one, is a symbol of love, though I always wondered how this shape came to be.

See how the heart is roughly carved? A few hacks and rough spots. Some gouges and uneven outlines. Sounds like most marriages I know. Yes, even the ones that last and last and last. There are gouges and rough spots, but there are a lot more smoothed areas.

See how some dirt has collected in the creases, in a few of the gouges? How there is a smattering of grit and grime around the heart? Well, even in a good marriage, there is great deal of day-to-day clean-up that is required. Most of the grit gets swept away, a bit remains. That’s OK. Marriage is a committed relationship between two imperfect people. No marriage is perfect. But this particular marriage I am writing about has had some perfect moments, some great, and a lot of good enough.

See the maple seed? It’s a bit bedraggled, a bit dirtied by street traffic, but it’s all in one piece. If you planted the twirly seed, there’s a good chance it would grow into a little tree. And the seed has two parts connected, but still each wing has its own seed. In a lasting marriage, there are together times and separate times. Good recipe for keeping a marriage alive.

So maybe I am stretching the maple seed metaphor a bit. But that’s OK, too. When I saw the heart and the seed on the sidewalk a couple of weeks ago, I immediately took a photograph with the intention of writing about it and posting it today, June 12th, 2012, in honor of the 36th anniversary of the wedding of Sherpa and Bo.

Happy Anniversary, Sherpa.

(It ain’t just anyone who gets a bedraggled maple seed in a sidewalk heart photograph for their anniversary!)


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  She is taking tonight off – no camera! – and celebrating. Dinner for two in NYC!

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. Thanks very much for the heart. 39 years has been a wonderful journey. The edges are smoothed by love and caring. 🙂 Happy Anniversary

  2. Happy Anniversary to you and Sherpa! Love the metaphors. I think they fit quite well. 🙂

  3. So beautiful..and such a perfect way to mark your anniversary. Great find!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Yeah, as soon as I saw the heart in the pavement I thought it would make a great photo for our anniversary, only a few weeks away.

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