Nature Bathing


“Why does everything have to have some health benefit or financial benefit or neuropsychiatric effing benefit?” I heard myself moaning to my friend Giselle the other day. “Why can’t I just do something because I want to and I like it and that’s it? Does it have to be thing?”

“I know,” she said, “but ...” and I knew that whatever was coming was gonna be annoying because the “but” signals like a big red flag loud siren that everything else was going to be diminishing my point, which was that I don’t always want to be so puritanical American about stuff — always seeking to improve, excel, be better, advance. 

What about being? Existing? Pure energy in human form interacting with, co-existing with, other forms of formless pure energy — the animals, birds, plants, people, legos, breakfast burritos ... all of it. 

“But you know, being in nature IS very healthy for the mindbody, Sascha,” she said. “You need to be with the trees on a regular basis for optimal well-being. This is well known in Japan where they do the forest bathing. So get out there with that intention.”

“Fine,” I said, I’ll get out there but I’m just going on a hike, a small one, because my foot. Not a forest bathe or whatever.”

“Ok,” she said.

Well you know what effing happened. I’m pretty sure I forest bathed right on the old path where I used to go hiking, but now when I walk through the trees it’s forest bathing. It’s pretty fun.

And it actually was better for my foot because the emphasis on hanging with trees rather than marching steadily to some destination involves less walking, obvi.

And that made it a better kid activity too, the forest bathe emphasis rather than the cardio-hike approach. Within twenty minutes we counted twelve different types of native flowers, and too many different shaped different green leaves to count. We observed a number of fascinating organic and inorganic matter, including two very, very large smooth sticks, a possible woodpecker (identified by Ax as such, with certainty, though I’m still doubtful), a lizard, a broken bottle, some black rubber heating duct material, a “slippery, craggy” boulder, and, we are not certain but pretty sure, a lizard. It was an excellent time, and my mindbody did feel amazing. So thanks, Giselle. You were effing right. 

I’m gonna keep going.