image from ralphiesportal.me
“In a forest, there is a quality of air emanating from
old trees that wonderfully changes & renews a
weary spirit.”--Robert Louis Stevenson.
In California, I hear, shinrin-oku has
become a fad, replacing yoga & TM; one
can sign up for week-long health adventures
booked with certified “forest therapists” as
guides, for a mere thousand dollars.
The stats are out there; it seems that
87% of our time is spent indoors,
6% is spent in enclosed vehicles;
leaving only 7% for being outdoors.
It seems that forest-bathing can
reduce stress hormones and boost
our immune system.
I used to be a hiker, but I never did it as an athletic
pursuit. The deeper into the forest I traveled, the
slower I walked, breathing pure oxygen right at the
source, from the majestic canopy of trees towering
above me, feeling relaxation moving up from my
strolling ankles, listening carefully to the sibilant
silence--punctuated by wandering wind & birdsong,
stooping gently to touch bark, moss, mushrooms
and wildflowers--hearing a chorus of trees bending
& rubbing together, waltzing in the soft breeze, then
lying on a verdant mat of clover & sweet grass, closing
my eyes, only aware of the shimmering hum of thick
leaves, and the angelic stirring of bird & insect wings
massaging the air into a lullaby.
There is no mystery to this--when my soul becomes
too dark & my heart too heavy, I just spend a day
burrowed deep into the fellowship of forest--and it
becomes a time of realignment, centering, and
essential reconnection to All That Is. For a time,
when I emerge, I am a better person, refreshed,
refueled & ready to return to my urban immersion.
No one is immune
to stress, so just walk into
forest for succor.
Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub Haibun