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.

11 May 2018

Nature and Technology?

I never thought I’d be the one to say this … 

For I am a hands-on-the-earth kind of person and I have dragged my heels on every single technological innovation; for example, long after my family and friends had cell phones and text messaging capability, I was still tethered to a landline with no idea how people’s thumbs moved so fast, so accurately, on such a tiny surface. (Or why they’d even want to.)

I am a believer and espouser of getting out into natural landscapes and having abiding, soil-delighting experiences.

I live and breathe, and our very lives - and the lives of all beings on this planet - depend wholly on each and every human re-membering our lifesource, accepting responsibility for our part in preserving and caretaking the planet, committing to right stewardship of Earth’s resources. 

Further, I have abiding faith in the sacred divinity of Nature, Earth, Living Beings. 

… This week has gifted many examples of how we can remember the natural world even in the face and experience of technology.

This morning I rejoiced at the sound of Kenyan birds singing in the background as I met 
via Skype with my young client in Nairobi.

On Monday a dear woman was brought to tears as she described via a Zoom online 
meeting how deeply transformative her experience of seeing orca whales had been a year 

            The next day we facilitated an online webinar about the crucial need to find wholeness 
            in nature so that we can create - including the simple practice of placing our hands upon 
            the raw and breathing earth at our feet, kneeling in supplication to it. In just two days 
            there are nearly 600 Facebook views of this earthy webinar. 

            On the very windy, blustery Wednesday this week I sat with a client at the nearby park, 
            editing his book on the computer while he went out on a trail in search of more soul 
            pieces of his story (inner/outer landscape scavenger hunt). 

While typing this blog on my computer I’m feeling the cool breeze of a rainy spring day 
blowing on my face: a basic way to experience the connection between technology 
(under fingertips), with eyes on the leafy apple tree and the soaring eagle.

I hesitate to hit the “publish” button on this post, lest people think I am advocating for anything less than total immersion in nature: the real living dirt and weeds outside of our built places.

The tender moment of realizing a junco had built her exquisite nest in my new flower basket and admiring her craftsmanship is not something I can ever exchange in full value for a videotaped or digitized image.

We find such great utility in technology and have, in large measure, begun to swap out direct experience for cyber experience; we might sometimes even imagine that the latter is real, actual. But while it sometimes bears a very good likeness, technological imagery is not the same as the untidy, evershifting, pulsing, racy, flesh-filled moment of my naked forearm resting on the long tree branch across which I sprawled over and over again as a child. 

Because, no matter how much about natural biodiversity we can access online, we also need to move in quiet presence out among the dancing limbs of the breeze-filled forest. 

We need to soak our hands in the salty brine of oceans. 
We have to taste that first asparagus stalk of the season: hand to dirt to mouth. 
We must greet the first salmon stripe of cloud in the morning with praise for its 
continuance. And our continuance.

I am thankful for the many ways in which this computer, my online accounts, and the structures and power that fuel them grant me easier access to relationships and opportunities at a distance, and in an instant. 

And if I have to choose only one, I will savor the slow churn of the natural world each and every time. 

On my deathbed, too, I will continue to choose the natural world: wind and window, blossom and birdsong, crickets and coyotes and cocoons and clouds, the widely beaming sun and the silver glow of moonlight. 

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