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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.



23 August 2019

Nature Threads Backward

A few days ago I began to see slugs in great quantities after months of no sightings:
I recall the banana slug who slipped into the empty banana peel I laid outside the tent door while the torrential rain pummeled everything around us

Bringing up the trash cans from the road this morning grasshoppers kept popping out of the field beneath my feet, causing me to smile and stoop closer to look:
I remember reading about a scary plague of locusts as a young girl

I heard one lonely frog croaking his heart out, hidden in some moist spot:
I am suddenly transported to my nighttime trek through an Indonesian river helping local scientists locate frogs by flashlight

Over the weekend a fat baby robin crashed into the window, heaved his lovely spotted breast, then flew off before the neighbor’s cat could pounce: 
I call to mind every article, essay, chapter, and story I’ve written about bird strikes and the discouraging research about their prognosis post-impact ... even if they do fly off

In the forest, the glare of muted sunlight through haze turned small leaves to smeared blotches of color:
I momentarily lose track of my sweet friend ahead of me on the trail as I become overwhelmed with the giddy autumn-is-coming bliss I feel every day of every year for weeks and weeks between August and November

We had a proper feast, over and over again, as we ate, picked, and then froze several gallons of blackberries this week:
I recall the two-week-long power outage on Vashon years ago that turned my frozen, handpicked berries to black mush at the bottom of my freezer

In nooks and crannies all over my office, this season’s fragrant lavender is drying flat so I can make it into sachets:
My memory journey is shorter, going back just two summers to the glad process of learning how to make my first lavender wand

I plucked one red, one yellow, another yellow, three red, five more succulent yellow cherry tomatoes in rapid succession off my neighbor’s plant last night:
An old man neighbor comes to mind – the one who brought over more cherry tomatoes in big brown sacks than we could stand to eat as little kids

Yesterday the rain licked the dirt road into mud, pounded down the roof, and led me scent-by-drip into something lovely:
I am transported back to a childhood night when I pressed my little-girl nose against the screen of my open bedroom window and sniffed eagerly to catch the scent of rain on Earth

Simply taking in the everyday moments that nature offers can be the thread trailing backward through our lives. Presence now in nature can help us recall a lifetime of connection to - interconnection with – the natural world in all its manifestations. I love that!




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

21 August 2019

Image of the Week

"Olympic National Park"


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

19 August 2019

Monday Musings CREATIVE PRACTICE: “Musical Nature”

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



Use sticks, rocks, leaves, shells, or whatever else you can find outside and “play” them, listening for the music that each one naturally offers. 





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

16 August 2019

Bliss, Gratitude, Words, Nature: The Week in Review

bliss for autumn’s tug at my sleeves: 

a whiff of some Earthy, musty decaying thing
the barest brush of cold air in the middle of a warm day
now-grown rabbits from this past spring’s litter dashing around to get their tummies-full
the spread of cream and melon across strips of clouds in the morning
a conspicuous absence of swallows and flickers
dark olive green becoming polka-dotted with yellow
that amazing tricolored leaf on the forest floor last week 
the manner in which hot days are unable to carry their warmth into the midnight

autumn is slowing walking into my back yard, the forest nearby, into the living juices of the trees, grass, plants, and me … 

gratitude for the grace that carries me:
unfettered physically
inspired creatively
peaceful and invigorated, in turns
capable, equipped, motivated 

these are gifts from a divine source that show up to remind me that nothing is to be taken for granted and gratefulness can rock the world …

words that pile up in a soul, a heart, a memory, experience:
black spilling onto white
curves, edges, lines, dots turn to letters that form words
pages to chapter to book
over and again

a co-authored book is as much a joy as a solo effort, publication a thrill even in repetition, and the weaving of voices into a singular purpose and passion – words the transport for meaning ...

nature, the sustaining force that infuses us all:
creatures and vegetation
shared memories of snail-play
landscapes that heal, inform, hold
human nature shared with friends and kinships born
every sense and bodily function and poetic fire alive in tides, mountains, soil, sky

the impact that the natural world has on a life would take volumes and seasons, prayers and elation to mark, codify, convey … 

and lifetimes’ worth of thank-you cards for how this Mother, this Orb, this Green Blue Gem carries on and carries us ... 



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

14 August 2019

Image of the Week

...our new book with cover photos that I took in South Georgia and Alaska...


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

12 August 2019

Monday Musings NATURE PRACTICE: “Hands Down"

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



Place your palms face down on the Earth outside your home.  










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