Presence to Living Earth

“We no longer hear the voice of the rivers, the mountains, or the sea. The trees and meadows are no longer intimate modes of spirit presence. The world about us has become an “it” rather than a “thou”. . . We continue to make music, write poetry, and do our painting and sculpture and architecture, but these activities easily become aesthetic expressions simply of the human. They lose the intimacy and radiance and awesome qualities of the universe. We have, in the accepted universe of these times, little capacity for participating in the mysteries that were celebrated in the earlier literary and artistic and religious modes of expression. For we cannot live in the universe in which these celebrations took place. We can only look on, as it were, as at something unreal.”


‐Thomas Berry, The Great Work


Please join us for our seasonal Presence to Living Earth programs that open a space for being present to Earth in an intimate manner through poetry readings, solos within the sacred space of Timberlake Earth Sanctuary, and time for reflection.


We are especially graced this year to welcome three poets whose poetic expressions reunite us with the intimacy, radiance and awesome qualities of the universe. Their books of poetry will be available for purchase at each program.


Presence to Living Earth in Autumn

“The Hospitality of the Natural World”

with Priscilla Webster-Williams

Date: Sunday, September 30, 2018

Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Place: Timberlake Earth Sanctuary

1501 Rock Creek Dairy Rd.

Whitsett, NC 27377

Cost: $50



Priscilla Webster-Williams is a practicing poet who lives in Durham, North Carolina. She has also lived in the landscapes or cityscapes of Iowa, Chicago, Connecticut, and Boston. Her poems have been published in journals and anthologies, and displayed at art exhibits, including the Disappearing Frogs project. During her time in the Center’s Inner Life of the Child in Nature program, her poem was selected to receive the 2016 Rash Award in Poetry, sponsored by Broad River Review and Gardner-Webb University. Her book of poems, The Narrative Possibilities of Coral, was chosen by former North Carolina Poet Laureate, Cathy Smith Bowers, for publication in 2017 by Main Street Rag Publishing Company.


Presence to Living Earth in Winter

“At First Light”

with Wende Essrow

Date: Sunday, January 13, 2019

Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Place: Timberlake Earth Sanctuary

1501 Rock Creek Dairy Rd.

Whitsett, NC 27377

Cost: $50



Wende Essrow has been writing and telling stories for as long as she can recall. Her father was a great storyteller and would spin a tale as the sun dropped low in the sky and welcomed in the night with the magic of his words. It was only natural for Wende to do the same for her children, students and now grandchildren. She is thrilled to have followed in the tradition of sharing stories, surrounding children with books and adding two beautiful picture books to the world of children’s literature. Her latest book, At First Light, is her first title for adults. It is an exquisite coffee table photography and poetry book designed to be enjoyed several pages at a time over that first warm cup of coffee and reread over the years whenever there is a quiet moment to relish. It is her passion for the natural world that keeps the ink, paint and photography flowing.


Presence to Living Earth in Spring

“Heron Mornings”

with Andrew Levitt

Date: Sunday, March 31, 2019

Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Place: Timberlake Earth Sanctuary

1501 Rock Creek Dairy Rd.

Whitsett, NC 27377

Cost: $50


Andrew Levitt holds a BA in English from Yale University and a PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania. He trained as a mime with Marcel Marceau and with Paul J. Curtis at The American Mime Theatre. Andrew performed and taught mime professionally for over thirty years and then helped found the high school at the Emerson Waldorf School in Chapel Hill, NC where he taught Humanities and directed theater for seven years. Andrew co-created a performance piece, “The Meadow Across the Creek: Words from Thomas Berry” for the Thomas Berry Centennial in 2014 and is the author of All the Scattered Leaves of the Universe: Journey and Vision in Dante’s Divine Comedy and the Work of Thomas Berry (2015) and Heron Mornings (2017), his first book of poetry. Andrew received the Greensboro Public Library’s Thomas Berry Award in 2016. As Dr. Merryandrew, he currently works as a clown doctor in the Pediatric unit at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro.

“We have attained such amazing insight into the mechanics of the earth and such control over its functioning that we have lost our ability to commune with the earth in an intimate manner.”


~ Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth