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.



19 February 2018

Monday Musings CREATIVE PRACTICE: “Elements"

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


Take a photograph of the weather today, seeing if you can capture the main element (rain, sun, wind, snow, calm…).






All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2018 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved." 




16 February 2018

Mirror, Mirror

The other day a client told me a story about hiking adventures in an out of state area he was visiting. On the first day he hiked quickly and for many miles; every photograph he had taken included vast, sweeping landscape images. The second day’s hike was at a much slower pace, covering only a small area, and he had been focused on his inner landscape—reflecting on his life, relationships, spiritual transformation; the photos he captured that day were all up-close shots of flowers and plants. 

This made so much sense to me as he unfolded his story.

Nature mirrors us and we find ourselves capturing that reflection in our thoughts, creative expressions, and even our pace. The many miles of land my client rapidly traversed in a few hours were symbolized by broad views in his pictures. When he went deeply inward, his focus on the landscape was reined in and he found the petals, stamens, and other minute details inside the flowers intriguing enough to photograph.

When we pair attendance to the natural world around us with presence to our own processes, we are apt to discover how amazingly in sync they are: how they offer up reflection upon reflection.

Stand still near a tree. Quiet yourself on the inside. Close your eyes for a moment and breathe. When you open your eyes, gaze softly on whatever part of the tree your eyes are drawn to. Allow yourself to remain there like that for a few minutes. Take a photo of (or draw, commit to memory, write down) whatever it was that captured your attention. Then consider one thing that is happening in your life right now. Can you see the connection between what’s present for you in your life and what presented itself to you near the tree?

May the gifts of the natural world bless you as you experience your own inner gifts. 


(Posted with permission from the client.)




All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2018 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

14 February 2018

Image of the Week

"Clara's Vision"     2018    resident pygmy goat with human caretaker reflected in her pupil


All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2018 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

12 February 2018

Monday Musings NATURE PRACTICE: “Observe”

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


Spend several minutes observing a bird, tree, or the sky.






All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2018 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

09 February 2018

Where’s the Edge?

Sometimes I wonder, all obsessed with ecotones (edges in nature) as I am: how soon can I detect the transitions that are pretty much always at work in our lives?

I look out and see the buds of leaves on bushes at the forest’s edge. And I wonder when they first appeared on the twigs. I’m out there every single day so why didn’t I see them until they were just about to unfurl – hurl themselves headlong into a life, three seasons’ worth of leafiness?

Each day my very elderly dog declines a little bit more; the vet calls it a neurological decline. It seems a bit like dementia in humans; a bit like the aging humans who finally need a walker, who move more slowly, who sit longer, and rise less frequently; a bit like a closing in and a narrowing of interests. And I wonder about this too: how can I imagine what it is like for her and how do I adjust my own movements and pace to accommodate her increasing fearfulness?

I notice how many flickers there are in the yard this week. Five at once that flew up when I opened the door today, another one who thundered the roof with his heavy pecking while I was on a business call this morning. I wonder – did they slowly grow from a solo adventurer of one to adding another and another until they became a flock? Or did they all at once find one another and fly into the yard together. Last year at this time, and all through the summer, there was one guy. One flicker. Just one. One at a time.

Transitions are alive and well, robust and strong in their movement toward something else. And I want to be attentive to them, to notice the change on the leading edge in a posture of deep presence; I don’t want to be left standing there as the thing occurs and passes before I notice what has happened.

So I cultivate that awareness every day. This is one reason I use the word “simple” in so many blog posts – it is the small and un-momentous stuff that alerts us to change, or even transformation. I cultivate the awareness of edges, transitions, change, by observing nature. 

By paying attention to the small things and holding them in the light of larger patterns to see the texture and possibility of change-in-progress. 

I listen for a different note in the tune; 
I watch for a tremor in the muscle; 
I taste for a new herb in the dish.

I was thinking too, this morning, that I don’t want to wish the less favorable seasons away (in nature, in life); I don’t want to miss a single one. I don’t want to waste the possibility and potential that each snowflake or flower petal or praying mantis carries: to open me to life, to humble me, to bless me.

So I will be a keeper of, a watcher for, the edges.




All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2018 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

07 February 2018

Image of the Week

"More Beautiful with Age"     second day of 2018    petals on my nature calendar


All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2018 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."