I believe the Japanese have given a walk in the forest the meaningful term of “forest bathing.”
As we’ve always had dogs, for the last 30 years I’ve walked, strolled, and, when I feel particularly energetic, even run through our local forest, up to the open fields about 2 or 3 times a day. Now it’s nice too know I’ve actually been forest bathing all this time .
In the midst of this mass of trees growing imperceptibly in girth and height over the last 3 decades, a few individuals have become familiar to me to the extent of my naming them. I’ve trudged amongst them in all weathers, in winter squelching and slipping on the thick leafed carpet, in summer kicking up dust and flies from a dry, baked path.
Siegfried Bassoon, a tree whose spooky hollow moans resound when the winds are playing, which is especially unnerving when daylight is fading. Perhaps the old pollarded tree was once intended to provide some natural fencing but the woodsman has long since gone, his intentions still visible many decades later, the distorted growth winning over his attempts to control nature.
The one I call Clive’s tree, because it reminds me of the sort of tree my friend and polymath artist would design, a twisted, hollow tree from a gothic horror tale, with many sightless eyes in faces yawning from its barren branches.
The contorted, gnarled old apple tree, a remnant from a bygone orchard, every year its starbursts of mistletoe increase in numbers, resembling an opera singer clad in feather boas as she sings out a soundless aria.
The 3 sisters : sweet chestnut trees who seem to dance in unison.
The coppiced sweet chestnut trees forming the main forest have a protective phalanx of oaks lining the pathways as though on guard, all wearing uniform stockings of luscious green moss……that’s my next drawing, and hopefully I’ll get some paints out, watch this space….