I do enjoy a forest run but today I tried something completely different, Forest Bathing !! I saw an article by the Forestry Commission which really struck a cord with me, so I headed off to soak up some bathing (no towels are required) 🙂
Shinrin-yoku is the Japanese art of forest bathing – taking in the forest atmosphere and connecting with all your senses.
My journey started with this wooden bridge that lead me into the dabble sunlight of the trees. From my trail running I know a number of routes through these woods, some quite densely forested and some more widely planted.
Today I didn’t need to concentrate on tree roots, branches and other potential hazards I really could simply absorb what was there right in front of me. In many ways the trees are competing for the sunlight and at the same time they all seem to fit into an orderly pattern.
With spare time on my hands I had no time restrictions but equally with this being new to me I wasn’t quite sure how long I’d be.
The trees spend their lives growing ever taller in an effort to reach that golden sun in the sky, the birds have their continuous search for food and the seasons shape how the forest looks.
I sat on one of these conveniently places logs and quite simply just tried taking in what was around me. The occasional dragon fly, a bird flapping high up in the leaves and the swishing of the ferns were the only obvious noises.
It’s almost October but the warm sun meant I only needed my t shirt. Our modern lifestyles don’t often allow us to just stop and stare, to breath in the woody air and feel the breeze on your arms.
One of the gnarled tree trunks had insects scurrying in and out and the branches move almost like they’ve waved at me. Don’t worry, I haven’t been drinking, I’m not on any illegal products, I’m just bathing in the forest even though we’re miles from the sea !!
It’s great to be able to step out of your Monday to Friday work and just connect with nature.
Moving on towards the less densely planted forest the individual trees really stand out. They almost have their own personalities, some stand tall like a soldier, some lean at an angle almost as if they’re about to uproot and find another spot in the woods.
Standing at the base of a tree and looking straight up, as I did with my first photo, really gives you a sense of the trees age, the winters it has endured and the ground that it has dominated for many years.
Three quarters of an hour later I was back at my car and feeling considerably more at one with myself.
The sights and feel of the forest will change as the new season approaches. I look forward to returning in a month or two for the Autumnal browns, gold and orange as well as the colder air.
#getoutside ……….. go Forest Bathing !!