Land Lovers – January 2024

A 2024 addition to our newsletter, IJC Voice, is the “Land Lovers” profile, complied by local Guelph artist, writer and Ignatius land lover, Dawn Matheson, with photography by Teresa Blanking. If you are a lover of our fields and forests, flora and fauna and want to share in the wonder, please reach out.

Our first profile is of Teresa Blanking, Guelph mother, photographer and blooming florist.

What would you like us to know about you?

My name is Teresa and I am a seeker of the beauty that is all around us. In fact, my peace-of-mind depends on it. I am an avid photographer and hiker, gardener/small scale farmer and florist. I have lived in Guelph for over 20 years and this is where I raised my three children who are now 28, 24 and 19. After years of office work, I am currently embarking on a career dream of floristry and micro-urban flower farming on our ½ acre property with my partner. But my gardening practice all started here at Ignatius, when I grew food for my family in the shared garden plots.

How do you spend your time out at Ignatius?

I have been coming out to the land at Ignatius for over 15 years, walking the trails with my young children and dog. We would spend hours each day, hiking and talking, exploring and reflecting. As the kids got older and became less interested in walking, the dog became my main companion. This soon became my coveted time to recharge, to process difficult life challenges, to settle my spirit, to meditate and to remind me of the beauty all around me. Over the last 10 years, it became my photo studio. I have over 1,000 images of this land, in all seasons.

Why do you come? What does this land offer you?

The land offers me peace and comfort. It reminds me of how beautiful the world is, even when I feel the weight of it. Our family has had our share of hardships. I can start my walk with a heavy heart, confused by a situation and leave feeling hopeful and with clarity. Walking the land here has truly been the most important self-care practice I have known.

How do you give back to the land?

Acknowledging the sacred land with every step, seeing and feeling the beauty, saying, “I see you,” feels like a gesture of giving back to me. Sharing the beauty of walking here with loved ones, and recording the many wonders through photography feels like a testament to the impact the land has made.

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