To Hug a Thistle

Bumblebee at Work

Bumblebee at Work

Though the common thistle is often regarded as a noxious weed, especially by those who prefer pasture to prairie, not all thistles are Eurasian invasives. A large percentage are in the prairies near Madison are true Wisconsin natives. They produce good nectar and so are especially attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds, and bumblebees.

I’ve been going through my summer photos, and found this busy bee. It is spectacularly a November day outside – breezy, chilly, partly cloudy – and the bee brought back pleasant memories of the many prairie strolls I took last summer.

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. Interesting photo – which is the more prickly the bee or the thistle? I suppose they’ve signed mutual nonaggretion pact.

    Wonderful detail in your image.

  2. Lovely shot! We are having a mild November too, it will certainly help make this winter go a bit faster:)

  3. I would have responded sooner but I kept watching and waiting for him to fall. Not yet! 😉 Good work. Crisp and sharp where it needs to be. Soft where it needs to be. Voila!

  4. Hey Bo. We just returned from a trip north, which included your lovely state of Wisconsin. I noticed massive bunches of thistles along roadways, seemingly planted in batches along with some lovely, I presume, native grasses. We visited the Lake Geneva & Williams Bay area and was totally charmed by it all! I thought of you while there!

Leave a Reply