Haibun Monday #14 – Relax – 2

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 Woods
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.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Victoria C. Slotto
    May 23, 2016 @ 14:42:32

    Just took my breath away. I loved the intentionality in your walks: let go of those tight knots and tangled thoughts inside me; walk with respect; breathe deeply; now enter.


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    May 23, 2016 @ 15:21:51

    I love this, how you have named the trees, how they are friends of yours… we should all have a spot to go out and mingle with the fronds… enchanting


  3. sarahsouthwest
    May 23, 2016 @ 16:38:34

    Every sense explored. Very evocative piece. I am smiling reading it.


  4. Walt Wojtanik
    May 23, 2016 @ 18:19:18

    Forest temple! Exquisite! I’m just going to ponder that thought for a while! Thanks for this!


  5. georgeplace2013
    May 23, 2016 @ 20:12:06

    “I store up strength and peace and calm like a spiritual battery.” and your haiku – oh my how lovely


  6. whimsygizmo
    May 23, 2016 @ 20:18:11

    OH, this wise, wise mantra:
    “be willing to let go of those tight knots and tangled thoughts inside me; walk with respect; breathe deeply; now enter.”

    OH. This takes my breath away, makes me want to follow you into these woods, and never come out. No breadcrumbs needed. Just breath.


    • kanzensakura
      May 24, 2016 @ 12:00:35

      And who knows, maybe there might one day be a beautiful pond in the midst of the woods, full of blues and sky…sigh. Water, sand, trees….perfection.


    • kanzensakura
      May 24, 2016 @ 12:08:44

      Trees and water….I often don’t want to come out but my hubs depends on me so….back to reality! Wish I had a lake nearby. I envy your lake trips. One hand on a tree, one foot in the water….yeah, I could deal with that.


  7. Bodhirose
    May 23, 2016 @ 20:27:30

    Those forest temples restore my soul too…such relaxing power can be found there. Beautifully shared, Toni…and love that haiku.


  8. B. E. Adalgari
    May 23, 2016 @ 21:25:04

    I love your quiet, worshipful intimacy with the woods here. And, my goodness, the haiku that concludes your piece is sublime. Each line is a winner, but, most especially, that last one. So powerful and freeing– like inhaling deeply and exhaling, as you described earlier in the piece. Loved, loved this


  9. Nan Mykel
    May 23, 2016 @ 23:22:24

    I related to this one especially Your friendsip with nature affects me the same way, tho I’m hardly elegant about it. Thanks.


    • kanzensakura
      May 24, 2016 @ 11:55:35

      Thank you. Nature is a friend that never seems to disappoint and never judges. I appreciate your saying my writing is elegant. I just try to write from my heart.


  10. Kathy Reed
    May 24, 2016 @ 10:31:33

    I love the haiku and the story! It all works so well as you record the sights and sounds of your surroundings. I have cedars around me, too.;)


  11. Mish
    May 26, 2016 @ 13:18:55

    Oh I could relate to this…the peace that comes from every step and letting Mother Nature take you into her world. Thank you for sharing your woodland wonderland.


  12. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    May 26, 2016 @ 21:00:05

    What a wonderful forest! You remind me it is time I too did this again.


  13. navasolanature
    May 27, 2016 @ 14:49:12

    This really shows the solace you find in the woods but shows how nature just is. Just being there is I think what helps us within such wonderful forests.


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