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.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Scent: Memory Trails

The other day when the sun had warmed up the surface of the Earth and everything had a sheen - almost visible waves of heat – I realized I was passing through time. I was on a journey through my past … to all of the places that I had been when this scent or that whiff of something infused my nose. 


It was a walking meditation:


that first trip to Mount Shasta

hiking through chaparral in fourth grade

church camp in the ponderosa pine forest

visits to the Cascade Mountains

Lakes: Tahoe, Havasu, Wenatchee, Otter Brook, Whatcom, Sebago, Echo …

walking home from third grade

mountaintop Buddhist temples in Japan, Burma, Thailand, Nepal, and one nestled in the hills of Northern California


A few days later, it was the cool, moist morning air from which memories arose:


a mist-enshrouded prairie full of bugling elk 

a river turned red with spawning salmon

an extended camping trip I took all alone in the North Cascade mountains


and then, a fully developed memory: 

four-year-old me resisting the urge to peel off the puzzle-shaped bark from a tree on which it hung loosely at a child's eye-level; my mom told me that it hurt the tree to remove the bark, and – though I didn’t understand why – I checked my impulses because I didn’t want to cause harm to my tree-friend 


Sensory experiences in the natural world summon similar-sense memories in our inner world. The body of human and the body of Earth are united in such a way that all experiences become accessible regardless of temporal or geographic boundaries. 

The fragrance of warm sap today, ten-year-olds at outdoor school decades ago. Oh, the powerful ways in which Nature holds us: her own family.  


All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."