Have you heard about "Forest bathing" ?
Forest bathing is the practice of taking a short, leisurely visit to a forest for health benefits. The practice (according to Wikipedia) originated in Japan where it is called shinrin-yoku. Studies in Japan have measured changes in immune markers and stress hormones in people who regularly walked in forests in Japan.
The idea is simple:just by visiting a natural area and walking in a relaxed way, there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved.
Forest therapy approaches such as Shinrin-yoku have roots in many cultures throughout the globe. John Muir wrote, "Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home. Wilderness is a necessity."
Without really thinking about it I have been forest bathing for a while and can attest to the psychological benefits of time in the woods.
There is a little known negative side effect of forest bathing known as "forest drowning" !
You'll be relieved to know that forest drowning doesn't really end in death; instead it involves that panicked feeling when one is metaphorically over one's head.
I thought my days of forest drowning were behind me.
I was a good girl on my walk today. I turned on my GPS tracker when I arrived, then proceeded to wander aimlessly through the Jack Lake woods. I was looking for that mystery house I saw the other day and for *chaga for Kaitlyn.
I didn't find the former but did find some of the latter.
If you're trying to find your way in the woods don't rely on random flags on trees; because they are just that -- RANDOM.
I'd follow a pink flag and then I'd see a blue flag. Or how about a pink AND blue flag.
Worse than seeing different flags is when one sees none at all.
But then I thought "Wait. I'll just check my Geo Tracker app to see where I am and how to get back where I started." So I opened it up and it said "location cannot be obtained". Somehow it had "lost" permission to access my location on my phone.
As the saying goes, "It's deja vu all over again".
So I wandered for a bit and then recalled that the sun sets in the direction of the park entrance. It shone weakly through the trees.
And here I am several hours later and you wanna know what I'm thinking ? I'm thinking I can't wait for my next "bath".
*Chaga is a mushroom occasionally found on yellow and white birches.