Otis & Friends 5I’m Otis, Prairiewoods’ favorite squirrel, and I’ve taken over this blog for 2016 in honor of Prairiewoods’ 20th anniversary. You’ll hear from me or one of my friends each Friday.

Good morning from Otis! I’m sitting clear up high in one of the big oak trees here at Prairiewoods. Trees are my favorite place. I’m so happy that people at Prairiewoods have protected the little woods here so I have a place to live and play. From my favorite spot up here I can see the Prairiewoods entrance. Here comes a car I recognize from frequent visits. It belongs to Jan Griffith, my friend and a frequent program participant …

Hi, everyone! I’m Jan Griffith, a frequent visitor here at Prairiewoods. I love the little winding road in and all the beautiful trees. It’s hard to believe the interstate is nearby. The trees muffle all of the traffic noise so that I feel like I’ve gone to the forest to find a place of stillness. I’m fond of places that provide eco-spirituality, the sacredness of nature, where I can find a spiritual connection within the environment.

I’m here today for “Tuesday Church” where we study Visio Divina. At Visio Divina a circle of interfaith people study a scripture passage with an accompanying illustration from The Saint John’s Bible. This art work makes the scripture passage so much more meaningful for me. It is also great fun to share all of the interpretations from many faith communities.

That reminds me of another meaningful circle I attend at Prairiewoods, Women in Interfaith Dialogue. The sharing there is special too and empowers the Prairiewoods entrance sign, which says “All Are Welcome.”

Tree - Grandmother 2_smallDuring both circles my eyes are drawn outside the windows to the elder soul of the forest here … the Grandmother Tree. Deer peek out safely from behind her. Otis scrambles up her trunk. Though aged, she stands strong and tall, her roots linked with other trees encircling the forest edge … much like the strength and empowerment I feel from others in this special place.

—Jan Griffith, program participant