My Forest — A Story by the Wind

Natural beauty being what it is, sometimes words just get in the way of trees. Perhaps only the senses need itemising, clarifying, classifying with a few added comments. After all, places that inspire do not so just by being gazed at; they must be challenged, or at the very least interacted with. The forest is perhaps one of the most useful features of nature. Here’s why:

The sense of size magnifies, intensifies, humbles and attracts. Trees pull your spirits up, and invite you to raise your head and gaze upwards; upwards in every direction. There is no way anyone can be immune to the positive effect this installs in the soul, to see the ways trees stretch valiantly, effortlessly, in their own space, and time, never rushing.

The forest evokes memories of childhood, at every glance and turn. It therefore keeps us in touch with our true selves, and helps remind us of when we thought trees were a natural playground: it is, and our youthful, innocent spirits deserve their day now and then.

Patterns reveal themselves to the artist in each of us. My trees seem to have characters by their shape alone, and most of my thoughts about the importance of friendship take root among trees. I wonder why. Latest studies show that trees reach out with their roots towards each other. Digging up and replanting many kinds of trees in other locations is always fraught with difficulty, even if properly cared for. Indeed, replanted trees that do successfully thrive still exhibit signs of their original surroundings, like leaves facing an original location of rising sun. Explain that…or enjoy the exploration of ideas while trying.

The sheer lushness of the green flora is tactile to the imagination.

A sense of direction comes into being in the forest, whether following the long shadow of an individual tree trunk, or the direction of the sun above, sense of direction is heightened when the knowledge that becoming lost is a possibility. Accordingly, survival skills previously quite unknown come to the fore, and one notices details in new ways. Sharpening one’s sense of direction works in your decision-making.

At the same time, the forest shows us the parallel worlds that exist alongside ours, above ours in the trees — at different layers, and below, on the ground and underground.

The aroma of the forest is felt both consciously and unconsciously: trees release phytoncides, airborne chemicals that plants give off to protect themselves from insects. Phytoncides have antibacterial and antifungal qualities which help plants fight disease. When we breathe in these chemicals, our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell called natural killer cells or NK. These cells could kill tumor- and virus-infected cells in our bodies.

A sense of peace and well-being ensures lower blood pressure and cortisone levels in the body.

And a sense of adventure developed as one walks deeper and further into the forest is a wonderful feature of time spent among the trees.

Sometimes a path reveals itself to me while on a long trek through the forest, and it is always pleasant to make that trek very long — as long as you can, so that you must sleep at least one night among the towering trees. Unforgettable, and truly as inspirational and full of stories as a very good novel.

When I am homeward bound it is also a very special feeling — recognising the first signs of civilisation among the glorious greenness. To come near that feeling one must first depart, of course, and only then can one truly experience the joy of arriving home again. Of course, when one already lives in the forest it is easier, as home seems to be everywhere.

where the wind lingers
my senses touch the trees
a grasshopper leaps
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