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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.



Monday, January 24, 2022

Monday Meditations

mindful practices to nourish you throughout the day and week



Think of something very specific for which you are grateful right now. Consider how this person, place, condition, or item helps you. Offer a blessing of thanks.







All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: 
 "© 2022 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Friday, January 21, 2022

Naked Hands


I put my bare-naked hands down on the wintry ground.

On the soil. 

On the mud, actually. Wet, gushy, and colder than ice cubes. Nothing melted under the remaining warmth in my hand; ice cubes would've melted under my fingertips.

But not this mud. 


I closed my eyes.

I breathed. Deeply. In. Out. In... Out... Innnn...Outttt...


Before the frigidity took hold and my fingers lost their typically acute sense of texture, I recall feeling small pebbles, twigs, and silky, half-rotted leaves in that handprint of soggy earth. I heard a breeze blowing faintly through pine-needled boughs high above my squatting body. I felt the quick, cold touch of my dog’s nose on my cheek before she darted off to some other exploration. I crouched a little lower and got a faint scent of decaying stuff, last summer’s glory now ground cover, becoming energy for unseeable living beings. 

 

I put my bare-naked hands down on the wintry ground.

I became one with that impossibly cold mud. And in the instant that my hands were no longer able to feel separation, distinctness from that mud, I felt the overwhelming flood of warm, melted calm that is the gift of inseparability-felt.

 

Separating causes pain, often. Because we are naturally one. Separating things out in our thoughts hurts because it is unnatural; the natural way, nature’s way, the truth, is that we are inseparable. “Becoming One” is the road to peace. I’m convinced of it. The mud taught me this the other day.

 

I put my bare-naked hands down on the wintry ground.

I became whole. Again and again and again.

 

I put my bare-naked hands down on the wintry ground…Won’t you?

 

(Originally posted Jan. 2016)






























































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: 
 "© 2022 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Image of the Week

"Barkin' Up the Beauty"

















































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: 
"©2022 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Monday, January 17, 2022

Monday Meditations

mindful practices to nourish you throughout the day and week



Go to a patch of ground outside your home. Place your palms on this surface (snow, mud, dirt, sand, moss…). As you close your eyes, feel the support that Earth provides you every day. 






All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: 
"©2022 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Friday, January 14, 2022

Journals: Touching the Earth

8th Jan: Beautiful sunrise colors this morning. I’m admiring the golden tinge to the East-facing hemlock trunks as the still-low-on-the-horizon sun makes its way higher in the sky. Edges of colors—a straight line where gray blue sheets of clouds meet an ecru sky; perhaps a faint lavender line marks the ecotone: clouds to cloudlessness. 

 

11th Jan: Bright pink glass broken into tiny mosaic shards twist, gleam, dive, and resurface—mirror of the smattering of clouds above, tinged by a sun no longer visible beneath the western mountains…I tease myself by closing my eyes for a moment, stunting my primary sense of sight, and I get additional treats: a melody of gurgling waves gently tasting the rocks at the surf’s edge, two verbose gulls contending for the whiniest high-pitched caw award. I reopen my eyes, sure that the rise of the mountains has now blocked out the color-enhancing sun, but the pink is even brighter still, those thick rosy pieces swaying, tilting, dipping. I am allured, falling in love all over again as if I haven’t already had a lifetime of adoration and passion for all that is Nature.

 

12th Jan, midday: Thirty seconds, totally motionless, focused on the overpowering sunshine widely reflected on this small bay—an indescribably potent metallic white—not warm enough to soften my bones in the 29 F midday, but definitely enough to soften my heart, melting into calm. 

 

12th Jan, late afternoon: I step into the yard without a coat and, with a small shiver, move to the close edge of the grass where the house’s shadow has blocked the sun and lines of frost cover the winter-surviving grass. I stoop down in the way that has become habit, beyond ordinary familiarity—more like intimacy. And I place both hands down side by side in one of the frostiest shadows. My hands barely register the iciness because my shoulders and upper arms are taking the brunt of the cold. But I remain still for just long enough to feel the denseness of the earth, the texture difference between grass and frozen dirt, the small moisture that forms on my palms as frost melts. I wonder if I press more firmly—will I leave two hand-shaped impressions in this grass? I remember as I stroll back into the heated warmth of the house how very easy it is to make direct contact every day with the body of nature that sustains and feeds us all. I relished, was soothed by, these moments touching the frostbitten ground. I remembered how dirt can become so rock solid hard on one winter day, and then become the malleable potter’s clay after the warming Pacific rains on another winter day.

 

13th Jan: In gloves, double wool hats, boots, down jacket…I spend a few minutes with the pink-ening sky twenty minutes before sunrise. Dog prints on the icy boards of the pier. The unbelievable, unexpected song of birds in the borderland of trees atop the bluff lining the coast…birdsong that could make a grown woman weep with every beautiful life-gift rushing to the surface of her memory.

 

I’m astounded over and over, even after a half-century-life seeking out small moments in nature, how restorative these tiny experiences can be. 



(Originally posted five years ago this week.)
















































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: 
"© 2022 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Image of the Week

"Lunchtime Art III"

















































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2022 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Monday, January 10, 2022

Monday Meditations

mindful practices to nourish you throughout the day and week



Draw a simple spiral representing this new year. Then embellish it with color, collage, paint, seeds, fiber, cloth or anything else that pleases you. Let it hold your positive intentions for 2022. 








All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2022 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Image of the Week

"Glorious Reset"














































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2022 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Image of the Week

"End-of-Year Mandala"





























































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2021 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Image of the Week

"Natural Intensity"
WINTER SOLSTICE BLESSINGS!










































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2021 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Image of the Week

"Picturesque"


























































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2021 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Image of the Week

"Greening"




All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2021 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."