A second submission for dVerse Poets Pub Haibun Monday. The prompt is to write a haibun about how you relax. My first submission was about boketto. This is about shinrin-yoku (森林浴). Literally, Forest Bathing. One goes into a forest with the purpose of being silent, experiencing the forest – scents, sights, details, sounds. There are supposedly many health benefits in doing this. The trees and plants emit phytoncide and amino acids which help lower blood pressure, ease depression and anxiety. I just know, when I spend time practicing shinrin-yoku, when I emerge, I am calm and soothed and the effects stay with me for several days. Come visit us at dVerse and read how others relax. You might get some new ideas!
The small dense patch of woods near my home is always open, 24/365. There are no fees, no making of appointments, no traffic or parking hassles. A short walk across the lane, jump over a small ditch and enter anywhere I choose. Before I enter, I make a pact with myself: be willing to let go of those tight knots and tangled thoughts inside me; walk with respect; breathe deeply; now enter. Today a soft warm summer rain – slow gentle drops. I touch the first tree on my right. We are old friends, this oak and I. Further down the path of pine needles, small plants and moss, is the grouping I call the Three Cedars – Papa Cedar, Mama Cedar, and Baby Cedar. In this warmth and rain, they emanate their sharp green fragrance. I softly touch their delicate fronds and breathe in their aroma. More walking, listening to the gentle taps of rain on the tree leaves and undergrowth. Like small temple bells, the sweet tones of cardinals echo back and forth through the silence. A sudden crack and a few leaves drift down in front of me. I look up to catch a grey squirrel leaping from branch to branch, making his way through the woods.
These woods do not care about my problems, my joys. They have seen my tears and heard my laughter. They exist and have existed long before my great-grandfather’s grandfather. Deer walk here unafraid, birds nest and raise their families, small animals live and die. Owls hunt and crows observe. I stand in the middle of it all and breathe – in, out, in, out. I lie down against the damp fragrant earth and look up at the roof of leaves, the straight strong trunks, the fragile twisted trunks, the rain dripping from the leaves. I store up strength and peace and calm like a spiritual battery. I cannot stop smiling.
forest temple lures –
cedar incense – cardinal bells
take cares to heaven.