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.



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Image of the Week

"Gentle Fall Whisper"
























































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Monday, October 19, 2020

Monday Musings NATURE PRACTICE

TEALarbor stories’ Monday Musings are simple practices for exploring the inner/outer landscape. 



Spend ten minutes quietly just being in nature. 






All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Friday, October 16, 2020

Thriving and Transitioning

I just finished writing an article for publication in a journal focused on ecology and culture; they accepted my proposal for a piece that begins with the title “The Ecology of Grief.”


Despite the possible depressing-sounding subject matter (which, admittedly, does revolve around loss, dying, death, and grief – and which amply references COVID-19), the essay provides a positive spin on thriving in life. 


What suddenly struck me, though (which would warrant a “bop upside the head” gesture) – 

  • after twenty years of hospice volunteerism, 
  • engaging in recent weeks with the most chipper, vibrant hospice patient ever who I currently serve via telephone (per coronavirus restrictions on in-person visits), 
  • after more than a decade of practices, writings, volunteer efforts, webinars, etc in the compassion and gratefulness movements

– is the direct mirror between what experts consider important to a good and peaceful death and what other experts consider significant for a good and peaceful life.


It is said that the four most important things to say at end of life (whether you’re the one who is dying or their beloved) are: Forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you.  


It is said in the compassion and gratitude, wellness and wellbeing bodies of work that the most important things to practice in life (those that help individuals and societies thrive) are: To be compassionate, kind, good, loving. To practice unconditional gratefulness. To seek health. To seek, create, and be beauty. These help us to thrive, to serve, and to remember our embedded place in the world of humans AND nonhumans. 


Woah! What we do in life matters! What we do at end of life matters. And we can practice these. And not only does practicing them ease our way at the end of the road, when we might really need a well-oiled practice to smooth our transition to The Whatever Beyond, it makes our life better now. It makes the lives of everyone around us – the world – better now

 




All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Image of the Week


"Echinacea: Healthy AND Beautiful"






All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Monday, October 12, 2020

Monday Musings CREATIVE PRACTICE

TEALarbor stories’ Monday Musings are simple practices for exploring the inner/outer landscape. 

 


Gather leaves, twigs, or pebbles and craft a simple seasonal display. 








All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Friday, October 9, 2020

Elements and Sky

No matter where you sit as you read these words, 

Regardless of the environmental conditions that may have fallen out of balance around you, inciting:

Excesses of water and wind in the form of hurricanes swelling into, overcoming, 

communities

Devastating fires that rip through root and branch, flesh and leaf, car, house, storefront

 

Leaving Earth flooded where once it held homes, leaving Earth scorched and barren

            Filling the air beings need with toxins and fumes that wreak havoc on living systems

            Clearing out what was once beautiful

            Laying bare what was once filled with life

            Filling up what was once populated

            Obscuring views, perspectives, and traveling in wide thick swaths of acridity

 

Water consuming

Fire consuming

Wind carrying

Earth bearing

 

The elements are here for us. In balance, they give us life. Life! 

 

Replenishment for our from sacs-of-water bodies.

Warmth in which we can comfortably bask and stay thermoregulated. 

Precious lifegiving breath. 

Beauty, oh so very much beauty, all around us on the landscape. Food to stay alive. Shelter to stay safe. Wild creatures with which we can be in communion. Floral delicacies to bless us. 

 

This morning I was driving my car eastbound just as dawn broke open in glory. I found the task of controlling the vehicle a distraction as my eager heart and always-beauty-seeking eyes locked onto and savored the lavender-salmon-ecru sky. 

A sky that holds:

the moisture in layers of icing-sweet clouds

the fire of sunlight rising

the movement of breezes shifting shapes

the colors mimicking Earth’s beasts and landforms.

I pulled over the car so that I could just watch this beauty-morsel unfolding.

 

So, no matter where you are or what you are doing, pause for a decadent moment with your eyes toward the sky. Quiet your mind. Still your pace. Soften your emotions. And enjoy what is given to you freely: the blessings of the elements and a sky that bears it all. 

 

 


















































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Image of the Week

"Red Dragon"





All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Monday, October 5, 2020

Monday Musings WRITING PRACTICE

TEALarbor stories’ Monday Musings are simple practices for exploring the inner/outer landscape. 

 


Sitting outside, write a fifty-word love letter to your favorite season.








All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Friday, October 2, 2020

Orb-Weaver Designs










All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Image of the Week

"Bark: Nature's Canvas"





All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Monday, September 28, 2020

Monday Musings GRATITUDE PRACTICE

TEALarbor stories’ Monday Musings are simple practices for exploring the inner/outer landscape. 



Laugh, sing, dance, play music, make art or in some other way express joy for the gift of breath. 







All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Friday, September 25, 2020

Rain, Dance, Hope

Mist

After two weeks of very unhealthy and hazardous air quality, the rain came. At first it was so light that my moisture-starved cheeks, uplifted to the sky for several minutes, remained dusty with ash. I danced barefoot anyway on the barely-perceptible wet deck by the wan light of dawn.

 

Heavy Drizzle

Then it came again under the cover of nighttime. As I slept, dreaming a fitful barrage of disturbing stories, the rain arrived a bit weightier, a bit steadier. It stayed, a very welcome guest, cleaning out the wind-driven ash

the hazardous particles in the air

the angst that had been brewing.

And I awoke to the possibility of renewal, of replenishment – inner and outer. 

 

Short Rainstorms

She continued off and on for days: cleaning out dry corners of the yard, wetting the forest floor under even the thick-canopied areas, singing her siren’s song to the fat slugs who had been sheltering in hidden nooks under the dying stems in my lily garden.

 

Mini Squall

One mostly-sunny day this week, the strong breeze ushered in a tiny burst of rain that dampened the grass and hushed the birds.

 

Shower

I was hopeful when one particular shower came, imagining a day of rain-listening, scent-seeking, pearlescent-drop photographing, wet-toed hiking. Though the shower ceased (as they do), my hope remained. 

 

Downpour to Sprinkle

As I sit hugging the window and typing this rain-narrative, the sixty-minute downpour that I have been relishing suddenly ceased. In its stead came a calm, then a sprinkle. 

 

Torrents to Deluge

These will come, eventually. By the time they do, we will all be well-soaked with the glories of autumn, wrapped in layers against colder days, cozying in near the hearth of flame and family. And I will rejoice even as I slip my thick-socked feet into calf-high rainboots and my arms inside my still-damp winter raincoat.

 

Rainscape

I know the rain isn’t everybody’s greatest love. My neighbors and loved ones are already bracing themselves for a long, wet winter; steeling themselves against puddles and wet fur, sunless days and chill-induced jaunts. We have felt the rain growing in intensity over the week.

 

But the rain carries blessings: quenching parched body and soul, nourishing the land, cleansing and clearing, opening our hearts to clarity, and strengthening our resolve to do good. 


Hope is like this too: starting small, swelling over time, refreshing and emboldening us. 

 

I can hold the hope for my people when they shrink back. And I will dance for all of us through rubies of rain, season after season…  












































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."