Trees exhale for us so that we can inhale them to stay alive. Can we ever forget that? Let us love trees with every breath we take until we perish.
~ Munia Khan
In our continuing summer series on trees, I encourage you to find a forest, stand in it and breathe. It is proven humans feel a calming effect from being near trees. The Japanese even have a special term for being surrounded by nature: Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing”. The practice of “taking in the forest” has now been acknowledged globally as a tool for preventive care and healing. Walking under a canopy of trees, apparently, can provide a calming, restorative antidote to our fast-paced lives.
The most common forests near me are Spruce forests. This summer as I get out of the city and hike the trails in Alberta’s foothills, I will stop, become aware, breathe, and do some Shinrin-yoku. I invite you, too, to find a forest to bathe in this summer. Then look at the tree closest to you and thank it for giving you the oxygen that sustains your life.
In his book, Forest Primeval: The Natural History of an Ancient Forest, Chris Maser writes,
What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.
What if our forest bathing could play a part in shaping us into those who bring a greater measure of Shalom to one another and to our world? May it be so.
*Photo by Gail Purdy – Thanks Gail!