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.



22 September 2017

Not a Waste

Please don’t,
for even one second,
imagine that

your act of kindness,
your expression of gratitude,
your smile,

is wasted on someone,
or
wasted on behalf of something you care about.

For that is the death knell of kind action,
of grateful feelings.

Kindness
and
gratitude
are not wastes

of time,
of effort,
of heart.

They are not “wasted” on people,
even when the gesture is not reciprocated …

perhaps especially if it is not returned in kind,
especially if it is shunned …

For that is when—
and for whom—
the tenderness is especially needed.





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

20 September 2017

Image of the Week

"My Handmade Lavender Wands"     First Time Making Them: Aug & Sep 2017    
They smell really good, too!



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

18 September 2017

Monday Musings CREATIVE PRACTICE: “Fluid Collage”

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




Collect items that have recently fallen on the ground and place them in an assemblage that pleases you. Rearrange it or add a new item daily. The natural world is always in motion, transitioning from now to next; may your nature collage remind you of this.









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

15 September 2017

Little Junco

I’m no stranger to bird strikes. But I usually see them in the springtime, not in the weeks approaching the fall equinox.

And just before dawn this morningin the middle of a deep, sleepy reverie and a long sip of coffeethe telltale “thwappp!” jarred me, and startled the dog. I lumbered to the door, stepped outside in my pajamas, and froze in place when I saw Little Junco breathing heavily on the deck just below the kitchen window. 

Was he the same guy I’d seen just yesterday afternoon foraging through the gravel beside the house?

Might he be one of the trio of juncos who, at the beginning of summer, tended another small junco who had hit a different window and lay panting for an hour before flying off?

Would he be able to recover: would he fly off, or die, or would I need to take him to the wildlife shelter?

Though I know not to mess with wildlife, my heart took over.

I moved slowly toward fallen Little Junco. I noticed how crisply beautiful his tail feathers were. And in that instant I became  connected to him, deeply connected—in some inexplicable way I can only feel. I righted him from his upside down sprawl to his feet. I tenderly stroked his feathers with one, then two, fingers. My doing so slowed the pace of his heaving. I spoke words of comfort in whispers to him.

I backed away and watched, waiting. 

For the next small while I drifted between the indoor coffee cup and the junco on the chilly deck.

Suddenly I saw the neighbor’s cat moving toward our deck; he and I are close and affectionate, and he lies purring on my shoulder several times a day. But I had just heard the tale of his most recent bird conquest—strewn through the house where he lives—and I was determined to use my human dominance to run interference between him and Little Junco. Thankfully, I was able to cash in on my relationship with the cat: he saw me at the door and came running for cuddles, oblivious to the bird just four feet away who he passed as he rushed toward me. 

But Little Junco—whose breathing had restored to normal, whose eyes had reopened, whose body had regained a normal perched posture—definitely saw the cat. And he reared up with everything he had and off he flew—low and away to the north.

My research into bird strikes has taught me that internal injuries might soon claim the life of Little Junco—whose trembling body quieted under the stroke of human fingers across his silky feathers.

It was the briefest moment of encounter … the duration of half a cup of coffee on one morning of my decades-long life. I’m clear that Little Junco may well not return to me, that even if he did we would likely not recognize one another.   

But it is a series of small moments, tiny decisions, and phenomenal contact that I will treasure forevermore.

... Little Junco's gorgeous feathers ...







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

13 September 2017

Image of the Week

"Orange Meets Blue"     2017     Pacific Northwest Winter Sunset



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

11 September 2017

Monday Musings NATURE PRACTICE: “Transitions”

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

 
Step outside and slowly breathe in the air. Lightly notice your surroundings as they are right now. Commit to paying attention to the small seasonal changes in a particular creature’s behavior, the tree leaves, air temperature, angles of sunrise and sunset, or the shifting light. You can do this as you go about your everyday business moving outside, through the world—seeing the tiny shifts that manifest change; also look inward to notice the small “seasonal” shifts in your internal landscape.






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