View from the Stone Bench

Tree Shadows

Tree Shadows © 2011 Bo Mackison

The trees above this bench are mostly bare. (I won’t mention the late arriving spring–if you read my blog at all, you already know about my relationship with late arriving springs.)

Okay. Deep breath. Shake out those recalcitrant brain cells. Appreciate the many photographs I took last week when the sun was shining, and the sky was a deeper than usual blue. And resume…

I walked through the tree park in the arboretum. I was especially drawn to the many shadows that contrasted with the grassy patches bright with the mid morning sunlight. Tree shadows–especially tree branch shadows–provide great patterns of light and dark.

White Branches, Blue Sky, University of Wisconsin - Madison Arboretum

White Branches, Blue Sky © 2011 Bo Mackison

The tree branches above this solid, full-of-character bench appeared mostly bare, but then I stopped to rest on the bench with my back against the cold stone and gazed upward. I was surprised to see thousands of waving catkins near the top of the white birch tree. And a never-ending view of the bluest blue sky I have seen in recent weeks.

White tree branches, yellow catkins, deep blue sky–I love this color combination.

I watched for a while, actually a long while. The catkins were like wind chimes, whistling and rustling against each other, a birch tree with a thousand catkin wind chimes in its far reaches. A lovely sensory experience–a warming sun on my face, whistling catkins, birds singing, the faint smell of the damp earth.

I’ll put this in my memory container labeled “spring”.

I am working on a new adventure in Wisconsin–one where she embarks on a daily outdoor exploration, no matter what the weather or season.

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. Oh! You’re starting your own outdoor commitment! Good for you. It’s an amazing an experience. 🙂

    That sky is stunning. I love that shade of blue. The tree branches and catkins against it are wonderful. Spring sure is slow in coming this year, but putting on quite a show once she arrives. They are a few weeks ahead of us on the east coast.

  2. Oh yes!

  3. Gorgeous blue sky and graceful branches, just gently dancing in the breeze. What a lovely photo, great place to lay on your back and look skyward.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I have enjoyed the sky-through-the-trees views this year. It seems the trees are budding in slow motion!

  4. Gandalf says:

    Beautiful image.

  5. I love the white branches against the blue sky! Just the right balance of colors.

  6. Gorgeous spring images. It’s such a relief to finally have some warmer weather!

  7. Ahhhhh…..ommmm…..spring-time, Bo. How lovely and gentle. Makes me want to lay in the grass and watch for animals in the clouds….

  8. Joanne Keevers says:

    Bo, how wonderful it is to share a walk in the park with you and to see the onset of spring through your eyes. I’m afraid we take the beginning of spring for granted in my part of Australia, as we have so little winter. It sounds like the most magical experience to witness the newly formed buds on the trees. 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Spring is lovely in Wisconsin. I know we get impatient for winter to let loose her grip, but the snows of winter provide the moisture for our lovely springs and summers.

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