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, November 13, 2020

Stories of Thanks

That hemlock (who I mistook for a redcedar) has heard a thing or two over the past eight months:


prayers and blessings for family and friends, 

panting breath from trail-running, 

questions about who he (the tree) is, and inquiries into next steps for good, compassionate living,

words of reflection about his grove, his forest, 

whispered memories of beloveds who have passed,

shouted glee for the beauty of those still present, 

and stories of deep thanks for the gifts galore granted freely by Nature in all of her many forms.


That hemlock, my friend, has seen a thing or two over the past year and a half:


a bark collage in honor of my mom,

trees fallen at his base in the small wood in which he stands,

an altar to honor the sick, the dead, the hurting,

a multihued thousand-paper-cranes spiraled and fanned into the shape of a bird, 

the circular tribute made of rocks, leaves, cones, fronds, and fallen boughs, 

a woman doing yoga in the clearing while her two young sons play a game with twigs, 

the barred owl who flew through, the pileated woodpecker pair hammering in turn on two sides of a neighboring tree, the flitting of small songbirds way back in the springtime, 

downpours of rain, of hail, of snow, and blazing sun (only on Hemlock’s uppermost needles),

winds that dance everyone living in the grove … (and a few humans, too)


That particular tree, Hemlock, has sung a thing or two to me recently:


be brave, little one,

sit still beside me if you want to learn,

strength is in community

your heart matters, love matters, kindness matters

gratefulness is inside you not outside of you

seek beauty

hug me like you mean it, tightly, unabashedly

give thanks repeatedly, specifically, heartfully…in fact, constantly

i’m breathing you in, you’re breathing me in

we’re kin – you and i 


And so much more. 


These are tree stories for which I give thanks.

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."