Forest Bath

Forest Trail

We bathe in wonders. Some manipulate aspects of these aided by theories of gravity or electromagnetism. I try to stand tall with shoulders back so I can breathe deeply which keeps my heart open to resonate with Whatever. I step off the street and enter a dense forest trail. As I move deeper into the woods human sounds smooth out into hums softer than the crunch of my feet on last autumn’s leaves.

Walking this path, I intend to pay attention, but I miss almost everything.

When I choose not to enter some woods, it sprinkles me with thoughts of regret. If I do enter, but pay no attention to anything, I am still caressed. Someday I might understand the rapture of every creature like that of the worms as they return autumn’s mulch to the trees, but, right now, I can’t separate out those drops of this forest bath. I walk. When the path ends I feel refreshed.

WORMS WORK WINTER MULCH
RIVER DRAINS AWAY THE SNOW
FOOTSTEPS CRUMPLE LEAVES


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Toni aka kanzen sakura (www.kanzensakura.wordpress.com)  who writes, “In 1980, the Japanese began a type of healing/meditation/relaxation process called shinrin-yoku (森林浴) or literally, forest bathing.” The prompt is to try this yourself and report on your experiences.

Author: frankhubeny

I enjoy walking, poetry and short prose as well as taking pictures with my phone.

50 thoughts on “Forest Bath”

  1. A beautiful haibun Frank, I love ‘We bathe in wonders’ and how the experience is enough to feel caressed without fully understanding how it all works. ‘I can’t separate out those drops of this forest bath’ is such a blissful observation :o)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There may be a lot of choices going on that I am unaware of in the forest besides my choice to take the trail. I imagine when winter ends it is more possible for choices to be made by the creatures in the forest. Thanks!

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    1. I think you are right about the winter being the best cleansing season. Mosquitoes can keep me out of an area. There are also black flies and “no-see-ems”. I remember decades ago in the Maine woods using an Avon product called “Skin So Soft” to keep these insects away. Thanks!

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  2. It would take a lifetime to understand and appreciate the wonders and rapture of the forest ~ But each occasion is an opportunity to be refreshed ~ Enjoyed your read Frank ~

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is probably a good thing it doesn’t depend entirely on us. I take daily walks, but the weekends are when I can explore trails I haven’t been to. However, familiar trails are especially nice because memory helps make one feel safe and aware. I am progressing through Terra Draco. It looks like Princess Régan has plans her parents will disapprove of.

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      2. I’m enjoying your book. I don’t normally read fantasy literature, but I like the idea of dragons and I like using them in poems. Each of your posts sets up tension to keep me wondering what will happen and they come in small pieces. In a week I should be caught up to where your current posts continue the story.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t realize it, but now that you mention it, the last line is about my feet crumpling the leaves which does contrast or complement with what the worms do to those leaves in the first line. Thanks, Victoria!

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  3. Blessed by osmosis perhaps, but just being there, bathing in the splendor, is still a grand & valid adjunct to our health, physically & spiritually. You rocked the prompt.

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    1. Thanks, Glenn! I didn’t realize there was such a thing as forest bathing or that there were even “forest therapists” that you mentioned in your haibun. But I suspect it is similar to retreats in rural settings or summer camping. We’ve been doing this a long time.

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  4. You’ve touched on a realization for me here…”under” stress, I walk hunched with rounded back and shallow breath. In the forest, walking by the sea, in natural places, my shoulders relax I stand taller to breathe more deeply, and calm enters. Posture tells a lot!

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    1. I’ve found posture to be critical even when sitting. I am still in the process of breaking bad habits and noticing the benefits. One of the yoga instructors I have keeps correcting mine. Will Johnson has a book “The Posture of Meditation” which emphasizes a straight back and knees low. He uses something called “Rolfing” which aligns the body with gravity. It is beneficial not only for his Buddhist practices but for any standing or sitting. I didn’t realize how bad my posture was until recently.

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  5. Frank I really enjoyed this haibun.. It spurred a realization that we enter perhaps with great expectations, and then? Part of the magic of the forest is we get ‘lost’ in its bounty, its bounty. We are taken over and the better for it. Also loved the haiku.

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    1. I do enter a forest with expectations, but come out refreshed in ways I did not expect. Although I usually tell myself to pay attention after reading these haibun I think I will be asking myself going forward why all this magic occurs. Thanks!

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  6. “Sound of one hand
    clapping in the forest”..
    when Forest
    becomes
    hand..
    inspired by
    Seagulls and Waves
    of Ocean.. without tools
    to float above the water as waves..
    i dance the sands in reverse as my
    feet can see the eARth..
    Sugar white
    Quartz
    a
    grain am i
    toGeTheR
    aS oNe
    we
    NaviGate
    the eARTh aS oNE..
    Wave Field Ocean wHOle..
    ForCe Particles as Grains
    Ocean
    wHOle
    am
    i am..
    FlYiNg WiTh eARTh..
    roTating and rEvolving Sun..:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unusual trailer. I haven’t seen the movie. I like the point you are making about the forest being the one hand that is clapping and we are bathed in its sound when we walk in the forest. Unless I misunderstood.

      If the weather is OK, I plan to take that same trail this coming weekend (or the one after). I will keep that idea in mind. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. SMiLes.. my friEnd
        yes.. you see my point
        and of course the metaphors
        for oneness with Nature
        are as endless
        as Nature
        itself..
        another one
        of my favorites
        is the wood sprite (Na’vi name: atokirina’)
        as a seed of the Tree of Souls in the movie.. ‘Avatar’..
        back in ’09.. where some folks went to the movie
        and actually felt
        the reality
        in the
        real world
        of their avatar-
        like lives separate
        from Nature.. the Movie’s
        visuals and sounds BrinGinG
        thaT reaLiTy lost in connection with
        Nature to greater liGht.. as daRkness
        real in the newer phrase for NDD.. Nature
        Deficit Disorder.. yes.. so many metaphors
        my FriEnd.. and hope you enjoy your next
        Forest Bathing trip.. one of my other favorite
        YouTube resources to relay the FeeLinG of
        Connectedness with all of Nature is
        ‘Symphony of Science’.. with
        Sagan and his other
        friEnds.. who
        champion
        oneness
        with Nature more..
        i’LL share.. considering
        you may not have come
        across this.. as well.. my FriENd..:)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t see that video either. Avatar is one of my favorite movies. I’ve seen it many times and it might be time to see it again. I agree we are all connected. Philosophically I am an idealist. Everything that we see is really there, however, not as unconscious matter, but as a manifestation of consciousness that we share in. Thanks, my friend, for bringing my attention those videos.

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