Shinrin-yoku

for day 12 of Nannernanner. At Real Toads prompt – Costa Rica.   A micro-poem. I couldn’t get the image Margaret provided to copy so I found one that is similar. Shinrin-yoku is the Japanese practice of “forest bathing” or forest meditation.

Shinrin-yoku
The trees welcome
They exude peace calm cool
The cares of world slip away
Breathing in the goodness of trees
Walking among them
Listening to them
Touching them
Smelling the green

fair trade

haibun: A Year in the Life of a Tree

This is for Wordy Thursday over at Real Toads.  We are to write positively about trees, the Wild Woman movement, climate change, etc.  there is a movement afoot called “Tree Sisters: Seeding for Change, aim to plant a billion trees world-wide this year, and they are well on their way.”  I love trees.  This is about my best friend among the trees. I broke tradition and did not write a haiku but instead, a mini poem, not a tanka.

 

A year in the Life of a Tree

We moved into this house 20 years ago. My husband had had his eye on this house for sometime so when it became available, we snapped it up. The day after we moved in, I went on a walk through the woods that are on and adjoin our property. I grew up around trees – ancient oaks, dancing pines, lacy cherry trees, flaming maples, whispering willows. I fell in love with them all. Being a true believer in *Shinrin-yoku, I fell in love with trees all over again. The fact that these were our trees made the love sweeter, more delicious, deeper. I walked among the trees that day, touching each one of them, looking up into their leaved canopy, feeling their roots spreading beneath me. I felt the love welcoming me. Everyday I walk among them. All sadness, stress, anger – everything disappears when I walk among my friends.

My best friend in particular is one huge, ancient oak. Many times I have climbed up among its branches sitting cradled in them, my back against its bark. I have watched the woodland creatures on their daily errands, seen birds flying and nesting, watched a snake or a lizard stretching around their trunks. But this one, this particular one…he has made me most welcome. I will often climb up with a book and a bottle of water in a small pack on my back. Often, I have my violin hung on my back. I sit and play for the trees, for myself. Sometimes the songs are sad, often they lilt and dance. I have watched my life passing by in their leaves – from tender spring green to fading autumn colors. My best friend is always there – in rain, snow, winter, summer…the song I most often play for my friend is La Musica Notturna Delle Estrade di Madrid form No. 6, Opus 30 bu Boccherini. I fell in love with the song after watching the movie Master and Commander. It seemed the perfect song for my tree. The leaves all dance and the birds settle down and listen. It took me almost a year to learn the song.

a year in the life
of a tree goes by slowly –
the violin sings –
I play and the leaves dance
my friend smiles as do I

*shinrin-yoku – Japanese for forest bathing

La musica nottuna dell estrade di madrid no.6 op.30

Haibun Monday – Taking a Bath in the Forest – say what??

Today at 3:00 PM, EST, I am hosting the Haibun Monday prompt for dVerse Poets Pub.  Come join us at this virtual pub for good conversation and good poetry.  I am asking people to write (non-fiction) a one – three paragraph haibun ending it with a classic haiku (using kigo and kireji) and to write about the last time they were immersed in nature.  The subject that prompted this was shinrin-yoku – literally forest bathing.  It is a recognized health benefit in Japan and lately other places.  So please, come join us! I was going to write about getting my vegetable garden ready for planting but decided on true shinrin-yoku. I am an old tree climber from waaaay back.

Having a tree as a BFF is a good thing!
I leaned back into the arms of the old oak tree, it’s warm bark comforting and cradling. All around me in the stillness of the woods that surrounds my home, I could hear the sounds of birds – songs, calling territory, rustling in the branches, wings occasionally flapping as one landed or took off. Every once in awhile, the bark of a crow or several sharp caws would join in. Small creatures – squirrels, chipmunks, deer, bunnies, snakes, frogs – all would make sounds as they went about their daily business. Foraging for food, scurrying from hawks gliding overhead, tunneling, eating, croaking and meditating in the sun – all the woodland sounds.

I come to these woods about once a week to nourish myself. I stand at the edge and decide what path to take today. Often I take the path to this ancient oak, an old friend of mine. I climb the tree until I find the certain conjunction of branches that hide and hold me. Winter or summer, spring or fall; snow or rain, sunshine and cold or heat – I love all the turns of the seasons I can watch from this place in the tree. Last summer, I watched a nest of cardinals hatching over in the neighboring tree. I looked down as a buck and his harem processed majestically beneath me. I have seen much and felt much in this tree. This tree is like the welcoming arms of my husband or my mother or a friend.

It is time. I rustle around a few minutes and bring forth my violin. Today in midsummer, it is time for something light and playful. I place my bow to the strings and begin Boccherini’s La Musica Notturna Delle Strade No. 6. The woods and all its creatures listen for just a space and then, they begin again, going about their business.

summer sounds drift by –
lazy creek at bottom of
hill sings its own song

copyright kanzensakura

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

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