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Forest bathing

May 29, 2012

According to an article in the Canadian Globe and Mail, ‘people around the world have an intuitive sense of the restorative power of natural environments.’*  I count my family and myself extremely fortunate, then, that we live surrounded by woods and fields, where our daily walks are a balm to the soul. From the same article, I learn that the Japanese have a delicious phrase for this: shinrin-yoku or ‘forest bathing’.

I have been doing a good deal of forest bathing recently. My favourite place to bathe at the moment is in the woods beside the river. There, the green scent of the trees and the perfume of bluebells and lily-of-the-valley growing wild on each side of the path mingle with the river’s own cool smell, and the sound of the breeze whispering in the leaves plays alongside the bubble and swish of the water. It is a most soothing sensory experience.

My camera has not been working for the past three weeks. As is turns out, I have not much felt like taking photos recently, so I have not missed it as much as you might think; despite the fact that this past week has been gloriously hot and sunny, and that this May in general has been one of the most poignantly beautiful that I can remember. I do hope that the new camera which I have (at long last) ordered arrives soon though. What use is a nature blogger without a camera?

Meanwhile, I can at least show you this river-side path as it was a month ago. Then, there were daffodils in bloom and new leaves emerging. It was a beautiful spot in April too – but May is my favourite month of all for forest bathing.

*Thanks to Rachel Hazell for drawing my attention to the article.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2012 9:55 am

    Sometimes you need to just absorb a place, rather than always seeing it through the lens of a camera. I’m sure you’ll go back to taking photos soon 🙂 It sounds wonderful, I like the idea of forest bathing. Total immersion 🙂

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      May 30, 2012 10:12 pm

      Absolutely right. And total immersion has to be the way to go. 🙂

  2. Toffeeapple permalink
    May 29, 2012 11:35 am

    Forest bathing will surely act as a balm to soothe your grief. Water and greenery can’t be beaten.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      May 30, 2012 10:13 pm

      It is a wonderful combination – we are very lucky.

  3. May 29, 2012 5:29 pm

    I absolutely believe in the restorative powers of the woods, and trees in particular. It’s why I live within the forest. Now I have a name for that love, and the image of forest bathing is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      May 30, 2012 10:14 pm

      Ah yes, I thought you would like the idea of forest bathing, Lisa!

  4. May 29, 2012 7:43 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss, but it is good to see that the forest is being cherished by the next generation. And the next is being raised to cherish the family forest?

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      May 30, 2012 10:15 pm

      Just by living in it, they learn to love it. We can’t go for a walk without teaching them something or learning something ourselves.

  5. June 3, 2012 9:32 am

    delightful. Thank you for putting into words the concept of Forest bathing and letting us do some virtual forest bathing of our ownvia your photographs

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      June 3, 2012 1:51 pm

      My pleasure, Alissa. Thanks for your generous comment.

  6. June 6, 2012 8:56 am

    Woods and running water – one of my favourite combinations and blissfully restorative. A wonderful way to apply balm to your grief, DB.

  7. July 14, 2012 7:39 pm

    I found you via Val of Arty Old Bird.

    I didn’t really understand the restorative powers of trees until I walked the Camino to Santiago last month.

    I’ve never heard of the Japanese term ‘shinrin-yoku’ i.e. ‘forest bathing’. I’m going to read the article.

    Love your photo.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      July 19, 2012 5:21 pm

      Thank you for visiting! How wonderful that you walked the pilgrim route to Compostela. That’s on my wish list – hope you enjoyed it.

      • July 20, 2012 3:21 am

        Walking the Camino was the most amazing experience of my life.


  1. Friday flowers: lily of the valley | Dancing Beastie

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