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May 3, 2008 / Bo Mackison

Nothing Spectacular

Nothing Spectacular

Hey wait… nothing spectacular? Do you see that blue sky? the green grass? The air is clear; the land is litter free. There are no obnoxious odors, loud noises, traffic sounds. The trees are beginning to green a bit, the grassy path is a spongy cushion under tired feet. Not spectacular?

Maybe it’s only an urban conservation park, 93 acres small, but it’s a piece of green that I visit many times each week. Located only a few minutes from my home, I have probably taken a thousand photographs of this land – prairie, savanna, woodland – in the last eight months. Of the 297 posts I’ve published, 35 contain photographs taken here in Owen Conservation Park – nearly 1 in every 8.

Owen Conservation Park, one of 14 conservation parks in Madison, sits on a hilltop overlooking the city’s west side. It was the farm and retreat of a University of Wisconsin professor, Edward T. Owen and tranferred into conservancy in the 1970s. Prairies and oak savannas are reclaiming the old farmlands, and the woods provide habitat for wildlife and birds. And they provide me with a place to unwind, hike, and enjoy my photography. For that, I’m pretty thankful.

If you are interested, here is the collection of this blog’s photos of Owen Conservation Park as the different seasons settled upon it – starting with a few photos of the fantastic wildflowers that are in bloom this first part of May and ending with the park captured in mid-autumn color. (You can also see how my photography skills have changed in the past 8 months. A few of those first photos are a little on the shaky side, but I’m glad I have them posted as part of the record of my journey of the last year.)

And the park really is a beautiful parcel of land in its many different moods.


  1. montucky / May 3 2008 11:18 am

    You bet it’s spectacular! Isn’t it great to see those colors again? I’m so glad to see parks like that created so folks can enjoy the outdoors easily!

  2. Robin / May 3 2008 1:39 pm

    I think it’s spectacular!! After all the whites and grays of winter, those blues and greens are mighty fine. 🙂

    Beautiful capture, Bo.

  3. aullori / May 5 2008 12:57 am

    I think this shot is beautiful – honestly. You could so get me to set up shop here as well! 🙂 The Midwest prairie is the most under appreciated ecosystem in all of America – and the most mysterious. I recall a couple years back when NatGeo did a pictorial on it and I almost wept it was just about that beautiful! I am thrilled you live where you live and I get to see! 😉

  4. Gandalf / May 5 2008 7:03 am

    14 conservation parks. That’s an awesome number. The trail looks enticing. I almost expec to see Bilbo or Frodo coming down the other end.

  5. Bo / May 9 2008 3:15 pm

    montucky – though I’d ove to be surrounded by your mountains or the ocean shores or millions of other places, I have a piece of heaven right here that I can visit anytime. Not everyone is so lucky.

    Robin – I’m trying to forget that WINTER! Brrrr!

    aullori – I have a deep love affair going with the Wisconsin prairie. I’m glad you get to see, too.

    Gandalf – Yep. 14. Sad to say, I’ve only been to about a third. There should be some good places for some new photos…

  6. Joanna Young / May 10 2008 4:57 am

    Thanks for reminding me to open my eyes. The words ‘nothing spectacular?’ combined with the pics are a powerful reminder to wake up, to notice the wonder in what’s here, right now.

    Thank you


  7. Wendi Kelly / May 10 2008 9:20 am

    My husband and I walk on a path that looks just like this here in Chicagoland. I think a walk is in order today,


  8. Siona / May 12 2008 1:44 am

    Really liked this post and it seems you share similar thoughts to me about appreciating nature, no matter how small the place. As I live in a city also and don’t get out into the countryside very often I have learnt to appreciate every glimpse of nature, dandelions growing on a piece of desolate ground, a snail crawling along the path to school or acknowledging the beauty of the weather. Thanks for a great blog!


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