Sunday, 4 January 2015

Letting the Forest Find You

Six years ago I came to live in a cottage in the forest. In 2008 I wrote - "Life in the forest is heightened by having a minimum and living more fully...I feel that I have found the fulcrum - acknowledging that up and down, lost and found are essentially places along the way. I feel connected to the raven's raggedness, the branches' bareness and to the emptiness and fullness of the moon. I find feathers loose amongst the leaf meal that lift with the wind, as if the will to fly could resurrect - and perhaps it can".

A friend recently sent me this information:

"Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term that means "forest bathing". The idea being that spending time in the forest and natural environments  is good preventitive medicine.  "The "magic" behind forest bathing is due to the naturally produced allelochemic substances known as phytoncides. When humans are exposed to phytoncides, these chemicals are scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, relieve stress and boost the growth of white blood cells. Some common examples of plants that give off phytoncides include garlic, onion, pine, tea tree and oak".

The forest is part of my daily existence.  As a Poetry Therapist, I work with individuals and groups, walking and writing in the forest. I know how it helps to heal.

I often read this poem at the start of  my "Treading Softy" sessions.


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

David Wagoner

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