Welcome!

Welcome! This is a place to share how we celebrate & deepen our relationship to Nature. Here you will find stories, images, & ideas about wilderness, human nature, & soulfulness. Drawing from the experiences of everyday living, the topics on this blog include: forays into the natural world, the writing life, community service, meditation, creativity, grief & loss, inspiration, & whatever else emerges from these. I invite you on this exploration of the wild within & outside of us: the inner/outer landscape.



28 April 2017

Framing the Questions

I don’t want to live in the close-ended questions:

When will…?
Are we going to…?
If so, when?
How many…?
Am I _______ enough…?
Who is…?

And these questions stifle me. They draw my breath into them so I have no air left to live in, to inhale. I am stripped of vitality and passion as well as fortified against “the emergent” when I focus so narrowly.

Instead, I want to live into, draw breath from and breathe into questions that are about practices, spontaneity, flow, richness and depth, texture and light.

How can we co-create a life, out of our individual strengths, that adds compassion to this world? In what ways can we begin to conceive of the collective and our role in that?

How can we model the ebb and flow of our lives after seasons and cycles so that:
“gaps” become interstices;
“redundancy” becomes the rich ecotone of layered experience;
“separation” becomes an opportunity for rich solitary inquiry;
“fondness” becomes acceptance of all beings as we are, limiting judgment;
“frustration” becomes an honoring of the beauty in difference;
“callousness” becomes a turning point for the arising of compassion;
“fear” becomes openness;
“anger” becomes softness and vulnerability;
“angst” becomes faith, trust, and then peace?

I want to remember that the osprey will come back, year after year to nest atop the platform at the local park. I want to recall in the darkness of winter that there will be another springtime. During summer’s long days, I want to recall the darkness in the corner of my own soul. It is my desire to reach out with a wide embrace, challenging my own limiting thoughts and behaviors so that I may engage Life open-endedly. I begin by reframing the questions from close-ended, simple-answered ones to those that weave together strands of body, psyche, mind, and spirit…so that it is with wholeness that I greet the world each morning.

To paraphrase EB White: Each morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor it. The only way I can savor this one life I have is to balk at the urge to shut down, and to practice opening, again and again, to the largeness and even the un-answerability of open-ended questions. It is a practice, a mantra, a fervent hope carried in the seed of my heart.


(Full blog orig. posted on 4.27.12)



All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2017 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

26 April 2017

Image of the Week

"Rocky Refreshment"     2016     Olympic Peninsula Stream Bed



All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2017 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

24 April 2017

Monday Musings QUOTATION

TEALarbor stories’ Monday Musings are practices and quotations offering simple ways to explore the ecotone of the inner/outer landscape. 
 

Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.

Joan Chittister







All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2017 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

21 April 2017

One Spring Day

On a single Tuesday: six bursts of rain, one downpour of hail, three brief sunbreaks, ongoing gusts of tepid breeze, two stable hours (not in a row) of light gray cloud cover, and

I went to the dinnertime window to admire the textures and colors of new red leaves and vivid green moss covering the limbs of two neighborly trees that were standing against the deep charcoal sky and yellowing air,

smiling at the beauty, pausing to breathe and inhale, feeling gratitude swell in my hungry guts,

when – like a gift-wrapped present on a humdrum day, or a loan of a book from a caring friend, or the kind hello from a stranger entering my exit –

one rainbow – so arced, so wide, so unexpected, so buoyant – seemed to grow out of one tree’s foliage, to rise up and over the tall firs – apparently touching (and healing) the bruise of a sky – and to plunge down across the forest

where perhaps that pot of gold really does sit nestled under the bed in which the coyotes lay last night,
where perhaps that sacred promise of long ago is unfurling its buds,
where perhaps all the ugly nuisances decompose into rich soil fodder to nourish the season’s early growth

and on the rest of the days this week, add:

* one window-struck Easter junco who rallies, wobbly – with two other juncos watching over him, before flying off
* the flicker drumming his bill against the metal drainpipe
* a downy woodpecker drilling into the alder for his afternoon fare
* a flock of swallows checking out a bird house
* one fat crow pecking at something gruesome on the ground
* the first casualty of the season: light-blue robin egg cracked open on the asphalt, life potential smattered in disappointment
* a soaring eagle overhead: present as my client tells his story, absent as soon as the story ends
* fresh-feathered robins, gaily singing so so so loud in the morning, such a welcome pronouncement of a blessed new day
* the chip, tu-weet, skaaaw, zzzzssss, lehluulelele…of avians unseeable
* a hawk with fingerlike feathers spread across the azure sky.

One ordinary woman observes the (mostly-) jubilant awakenings on a small patch of soil on Earth.




All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2017 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

19 April 2017

Image of the Week

"Quest Journal"     2006    
collaged fancy paper journal I made for my first wilderness fast







All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2017 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

17 April 2017

Monday Musings CREATIVE PRACTICE: “The Color of Growth”

TEALarbor stories’ Monday Musings are practices and quotations offering simple ways to explore the ecotone of the inner/outer landscape. 



Using vivid crayons, pens, pencils, or paint, create a simple leaf shape made of the colors you see today in nature. The palette of ecology is endless!







All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2017 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."