(Pixabay)

COLUMN: ‘Only one green in the crayon box’

Discovering the Japanese concept of Shinrin-yoku or ‘Forest Bathing’

When my mom got tired of us kids in the house we knew to expect the familiar command “Go Outside!”

It was not a request, it was an order.

She would strategically wait for a tiny break in the ever-present rain, then announce the directive.

Mom had learned that a good dose of fresh air was the daily remedy for rambunctious children and frazzled mothers.

I recently took a trip to a lovely part of the rainy coastal forest and treated myself to several drizzly excursions.

Not only was the air freshly washed, I realized how much I’ve missed the delicious smells of the bulging green woods.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Story Time: the heart and soul of the library

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Getting to the truth of the matter

When finally, bits of stray sunshine made it’s way through the canopy I just had to stop for a while and absorb the wonderful eye candy.

Towering western red cedar, branch-tips frosted with vibrant new growth studded by raindrops floated in the breeze. Layers of maple green, light to dark in every shade you can imagine. Douglas fir yet to be discovered by the ominous fir beetle, stood proudly displaying their lively new shoots. Swaths of deep, velvety moss clinging to textured trunks, defying the definition of green in every sense.

The undergrowth dominated by Devil’s club, leaves the size of dinner plates concealing the secret, sharp spines below. Ferns so joyously receiving every drop from above, lining my path.

As I let this amazing array of green settle into my soul, I began to consider how an artist would approach this scene. A little box of crayons has just one green – hardly enough to describe the lush and riotous picture I was enjoying.

In Japan, people can participate in Shinrin-yoku, loosely translated as “taking in the forest atmosphere” or its North American handle, “Forest Bathing.”

The first time I heard this term I immediately created a mental image of a claw-footed tub filled with bubbles in the middle of the woods.

After a bit of research, I learned that the term actually refers to the specific practice of immersing yourself in nature. The positive effects are said to include, relief of depression, a greater sense of relaxation that reduces stress and physiological problems. Almost like filling up your wellness reserve bucket.

In Tokyo, it may take an organized program to get out and have a “Forest Bath.”

In Summerland, we are fortunate enough to simply walk out the door and within minutes find ourselves in a bit of forest.

As usual, mom knew what she was talking about. Next time you’re feeling out of sorts, put on your walking shoes and go outside.

You could even walk down to the library and flip through some great books that may inspire your very own Forest Bathing like: Your Guide to Forest Bathing by M. Amos Clifford, Forest Therapy by Sarah Ivens and The Japanese Art and Science of Shinrin-Yoku: Forest Bathing by Dr. Qing Li.

Sue Kline is the Community Librarian at the Summerland Branch of the ORL and dedicated Forest Bather.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Shuswap elementary school suspends operations due to ‘musty odour’

Arrangements made for affected Sicamous students to attend class in three other schools

Salmon Arm history in photos: Do you remember when?

Salmon Arm Museum at R.J. Haney Heritage Village asks public to identify date photo was taken

Salmon Arm mall’s no-panhandling sign reported to be result of complaints

Bylaw moves homeless men to mall vicinity, city says they’re OK on sidewalk

Carnivorous praying mantis put to work in the Shuswap

Insects introduced to the region in the 1930s to control grasshoppers eating crops

Fewer than 250 caribou remain in Columbia Shuswap

Only one of four herds in region with stable population, still considered threatened

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Column: Wildlife encounters in my own backyard

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

Climate protesters temporarily shut down road in downtown Kelowna

Protesters are demanding politicans take action to stop climate change

Letter: Signs of oxygen depletion all around us

Writer considers effects of increased C02 levels

Security footage shows grab and go of cash in South Okanagan business break-in

Marla Black is asking for the public’s help in identifying the man who broke into Winemaster

Vehicle taken by gunpoint in South Okanagan carjacking recovered

Penticton RCMP said the criminal investigation remains very active and ongoing

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

Most Read