Walking the Tallgrass Prairie – Sunday Series


Prairie Rosinweed © 2012 Bo Mackison

The disappearance of a major natural unit of vegetation from the face of the earth is an event worthy of causing pause and consideration by any nation.  Yet so gradually has the prairie been conquered by the breaking plow, the tractor, and the overcrowded herds of man…that scant attention has been given to the significance of this endless grassland or the course of its destruction.  Civilized man is destroying a masterpiece of nature without recording for posterity that which he has destroyed.  ~  John Ernest Weaver, North American Prairie (1954)

Tall Grass Prairie

Little Bluestem in Tallgrass Prairie © 2012 Bo Mackison

I like to think of landscape not as a fixed placed but as a path that is unwinding before my eyes, under my feet. ~ Gretel Ehrlich

Autumn Macro

Autumn Macro of Wings and Leaves © 2012 Bo Mackison

. . . the joy of prairie lies in its subtlety.  It is so easy—too easy—to be swept away by mountain and ocean vistas.  A prairie, on the other hand, requests the favor of your closer attention.  It does not divulge itself to mere passersby.   ~ Suzanne Winckler (2004, Prairie: A North American Guide)

Prairie Rosinweed © 2012 Bo Mackison

Prairie Rosinweed © 2012 Bo Mackison

. . . there don’t seem to be words, let alone colors, to do justice to the land and sky-scape that surrounds me . . . as empty as this place can seem, a person might never weary of looking at the land and sky.  ~ Kathleen Norris, Introduction to On the Plains (1999)

Tall Grass Prairie - Seedheads

Achenes and Wings of the Autumn Rosinweed © 2012 Bo Mackison

The sea, the woods, the mountains, all suffer in comparison with the prairie. . . The prairie has a stronger hold upon the senses.  Its sublimity arises from its unbounded extent, its barren monotony and desolation, its still, unmoved, calm, stern, almost self-confident grandeur, its strange power of deception, its want of echo, and, in fine, its power of throwing a man back upon himself. ~ Albert Pike (1831-32, Journeys in the Prairie)

Eight Foot Tall - Sunflowers in the Tallgrass Prairie

Prairie Cup-Plant © 2012 Bo Mackison

A world of grass and flowers stretched around me, rising and falling in gentle undulations, as if an enchanter had struck the ocean swell, and it was at rest forever. . .   ~ Eliza Steele, Summer Journey in the West (1840)

Bluestem Grasses in Tallgrass Prairie

Autumn Macro of Little Bluestem © 2012 Bo Mackison

“Grasslands challenge our senses, calling us to open our eyes to impossibly broad horizons and then, in the very next breath, to focus on some impossibly tiny critter hidden in the grass.” ~ James R. Page, Wild Prairie: A Photographer’s Personal Journey (2005)

Looking Above my Head

Above my Head in the Prairie © 2012 Bo Mackison

 It seems to be a constant contradiction of itself.  It is delicate, yet resilient; it appears to be simple, but closer inspection indicates that it is extremely complex; it may appear monotonous, but it is diverse and ever-changing throughout the seasons. ~ James Stubbendieck (1988)


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Today I offer you a few photographs of the prairie combined with quotations that describe the prairie in America’s Midwest throughout its recent (200 year) history with man. There isn’t much prairie left to see, but whenever I walk in a remnant, I feel awed by the possibility of a prairie that goes as far as the eye can see. More 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. Wonderful, thank you.

  2. I especially like the second photo. You did a good job of getting the grasses to stand out.

  3. The tall grasses are wonderful. What kind are they?

  4. Lovely series of photos Bo!

  5. These are beautiful! I can feel ‘September’. Well done!!!

  6. Oh, yes….what Marcie says – “I can feel September!” Lovely!

  7. Beautiful series, Bo. The light is amazing. 🙂

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