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.



20 February 2019

Image of the Week

"Inner/Outer Unity"



All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2019 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

18 February 2019

Monday Musings CREATIVE PRACTICE: “Trace”

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




Trace with your finger the outline of a pine cone, leaf, shell; see if you can trace it again with a pen on a page.










All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2019 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

15 February 2019

Seeing the Gifts

I’ve had ample opportunity recently to hear people disgruntled about the weather:

… shoveling snow, cabin fever, impassable roads, power outages, frigid cold …

And other moments of seeing people’s expressions of awe about our record-breaking storm:

… photographs of snow-playing dogs, the donning of snowshoes or skis, neighbors gladly helping one another, the sharing of information about current conditions, a giggle of delight upon walking out into the blizzard …

Through this, I had to consider my own reactions:

… eagerly cross-country skiing on day one; 
enjoying a new novel on day two; 
worrying about spoiled food on day three, but still romping outside to follow deer tracks; 
and - late in the storm after four days of being housebound and without running water, electricity, Internet – feeling claustrophobic as if I were inside a snow globe; longing for the ease and privilege of being back “on the grid” (something I’ve tended to criticize as a concept, but deeply appreciate and rely on as an everyday convenience); searching in vain for a way to spin these few odd moments of discontent back into glorious strands of joy

Within myself I could feel the contradictions: 

… the bliss and the annoyance, the welcome respite from responsibilities and the irrational angst about it becoming an endless condition, the beauty and the incapacity, the embrace of something unusual and the fear of it …

Our personal tolerance for changed conditions, particularly seemingly-hampering ones, varies – from person to person, and day to day within ourselves. 

I have endeavored - especially over the past decade - to cultivate a sense of gratitude for a moment, to hug it unencumbered by conditions of “like or dislike,” to find the grace in a situation. But unless I greet each moment as new and fresh, my tendency – in prolonged situations of change (like day four of the storm) – will be to weary of the practice of gratitude. 

For it is a practice, gratitude. And it is just a blip in routine, the transient storm. 

So I am reminded that I need to continue my workouts of gratitude that I might become more resilient, more flexible, strengthened and emboldened to face the gift squarely in the face: 

this is the day I get, 
the moment I have, 
the gift of opportunity I can take to see the novelty – and to fall into it with awe, surrender, a smile on my lips. 




All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2019 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

13 February 2019

Image of the Week

"Hundred-Year Storm?"     Home     February 8 - 13, 2019



All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2019 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

11 February 2019

Monday Musings NATURE PRACTICE: “Breathe In & Out”

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



Stand just outside your front door and inhale deeply; step inside and exhale that breath.







All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2019 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

08 February 2019

Beauty Abounds

the waxing crescent moon, blurred from storm moisture in the air
thick crimson, pumpkin, turquoise oil paint lumped and layered and slathered wisely on a canvas
four acquaintances who compose and send email love letters
tiny reproductions of hand-painted flora and fauna carefully lined up inside a crafts piece
the slight playful nudge, and then hug, from a friend in the frenzied store
the spacious, quiet, holding of space that a friend offers during storytellings of abuse
a search for a single snowflake, a video of Antarctic auroras, the bliss of South Georgia Island
the enthusiasm of attentive students who labor, giving birth to beauty
compassionate caregivers who say “yes” to a joy-bringing offer for the residents
the very ill artist who makes paintings from words
a realization that holey is holy, too
a pileated woodpecker sitting on a mossy, snow-covered branch
the gentlest “thank you” from a hospice patient’s daughter
a potent inner joy about completed book chapters
sweet memories of a loved one’s smile
cerulean blue fireflies of sun glimmering atop icy peaks of snow 
the wan-but-healthy peach and blue skies that bookended the day

it doesn’t take much – a commitment to openness, attentiveness – to appreciate and engage the intricate patterns of grace and beauty in each day





All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2019 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."