Forest Bathing

Little did we know just how invigorating & transformative this whole initiative would be for us. Our guide & mentor, Kristen McEwan, who transpired to be a genuine inspiration, devoted to her craft. This was the wonderful discipline that is called Shimu-Yaku, which Kristen explains, is an ancient Japanese tradition, which in English does translate as forest bathing.

Our group learned how the natural world, much of which is hidden underground & out of sight, has evolved over millennia to form an intricate & elaborate communication network. How tree roots & fungi help one another flourish, having adaptable responses in order to cope with certain changing demands.

Within minutes we were free from the heavy burden & social constraints that have become the norm to fit within our often hectic modern-day lifestyle. Gone were the noise of road traffic & mobile phone chatter, to be swiftly replaced with birdsong & the wind whistling through the trees.

Kirsten gracefully lead our group through a nature trail, compelling us to note the myriad shades of green & brown that had become our new environment. We paused by the bridge to focus on a certain contrast between foreground & background. Each of our senses being reawakened; from the pungent aromas given off by the earth, soil, grass, flowers & trees. The feel of the terrain beneath our feet & the rugged, gnarled tree bark. Then the spectacle of a butterfly as it flutters into view & that of a honeybee delicately landing on a blossoming wildflower.

This whole venture truly was magical & compelling. We finished the session by sharing our unique experiences amongst one another. Most of our group are well familiar with mindfulness techniques, but this was the next level! We were all enlightened & rejuvenated by nature’s free gift. Then the daunting realisation that sadly it was all too soon to be the session end & that normal service would resume!..

Much praise and gratitude to Kristen McEwan for inviting our group to attend and inferring upon us her knowledge and passion for nature. Special thanks to Manja for getting our group to the park in the P6 minibus.

Lee Latham