Tackling Transitions

Twilight, Roosevelt Lake, Arizona

Twilight, Roosevelt Lake @2013 Bo Mackison

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. ~ John Burroughs

Transitions! I’ve learned that when dealing with transitions, I need to give myself some space and some extra self-care. In order for me to keep moving forward, I take baby steps. Even then, I occasionally feel as if I cannot take one more step. What is uncomfortable becomes uneasiness, then verges on panic, and I want to cry out, “I can’t do this!” —  exactly the place I’ve worked hard to move away from.

So in the wee hours of Saturday, I decided that fretting about my upcoming transition from Southwest to Midwest was unhelpful. Worry seldom, if ever, leads to positive results.

I needed to get out of my head. One of the ways I’ve learned to do that is to get on the road. So I packed clothes, food, and my camping gear, and by mid-morning I was on a mini road-trip.

I traveled north, stopped to see an ancient Hohokam site at Casa Grande National Monument. I walked around the ruins, most probably a gathering place for these ancient Desert People. It was quiet and sunny, and the lizards and I enjoyed studying the ruins, imagining life as it was then, long days of work to provide the basics for living.

Then I headed east, through Globe, and followed the ascending road into Tonto National Monument. I walked the mile trail to another ancient site, the 700 year old Lower Cliff Dwelling. I wondered in awe at the Salado, the adaptable people who thrived in a dry and harsh environment and built housing with creative solutions for safety, tucking their homes high above the ground along the rim of a cave. I wondered how the young children and the elders managed the ladders and multiple levels of living space.

The wildflowers were blooming wildly and the riotous effect made me laugh. Orange, pink, bright blur, lavender, red, purple and yellow – a spectacle of colors!

Western Rattlesnake, Sunning Itself Mid-Road

Western Rattlesnake, Sunning Itself Mid-Road © 2013 Bo Mackison

As I was leaving the park, I saw a rattlesnake coiled, sunning itself in the middle of the road. I stopped to take some photos. I watched as an oncoming car sped down the mountain road and nearly hit the snake. With amazing speed, the snake transformed from sun-sleeping to its attack mode, an instinctive dance of sorts, rising up nearly vertical in the air, striking, rattling. I watched from my car, safe from harm, but it was an amazing show of the snake’s natural response to threat. I was stunned and thrilled, simultaneously.

Though I enjoyed the hikes and nature experiences, late afternoon began to turn to early evening, and the internal quiet I sought remained elusive.  Moving out of my comfort zone, I chose to camp in an isolated site, separated from other campers, and with a view high above Roosevelt Lake.

I lit a small camp fire – there was a pile of dry cedar at the site left by the last campers. I listened to a CD of Native American flute music, Walk Between Worlds, by Golana, gentle and evocative. The sun slipped behind the Superstition Mountains, and the reflected pinks and oranges and blue-grays in the sky were the very colors of the glowing embers in the fire pit.

Finally! The combination of setting sun, campfire, and flute music worked its magic. My heart stopped racing and my breathing calmed, and I sat there, thinking, “I am OK. I can manage.”

I’d paid attention, my instincts were good – they led me to a calming place.

While I watched the camp fire shoot sparks and dancing flames, I thought of lighting candles, lighting them with intention. My campfire was burning with intention, too. It reminded me that, even though I experience times of discomfort and feeling lost, I can hold strong my intentions that I am whole and good, and that through my creative efforts, I can make a difference in my life and in the lives of others.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  She’s finding strength and inspiration in the desert, and she’s working on transition skills. (More photos of the National Monuments to come…)


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. Wow, you describe this scene of magic, with the brilliant colours of nature, the camp fire and the flute music so vividly Bo, I felt as though I was there also, experiencing the peace, and then hearing the rattlesnake in attack mode.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Joanne, it was a pivotal time for me. Magical setting and time to reflect on a necessary transition. A good plan.

  2. Beautiful setting. Great observations.

  3. Thank you for this magical post, Bo. I needed it today. I’ve been in panic mode for a while, and this was a good reminder to get out of my own way (and out of my head!). The rattlesnake is pretty awesome, and your image of twilight is very soothing.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Ah, yes. We all can use a reminder to get out of our own way. Good tyo review — often! 🙂

  4. You are quite amazing!

  5. You did indeed find a good place, a calming place.

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