John Muir once said “Between every two pine trees is a doorway leading to a new way of life.”
I am thinking of “Forest Bathing” as I read that quote. The relationship between trees and our breathing is miraculous.
The formula: Cellular Respiration: C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O<>photosynthesis: 6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6+ 6O2
The exhalations of the forest are medicine. Fragrant pines have one kind of medicine. Birch another. And the leafy bushes of the shady places offer their own healing powers.
We breathe in.
We breathe out.
A sacred rhythm as ancient as time.
If you are like me, I love, I mean absolutely love a long hike with great vertical. I love to travel fast on these legs on those mountain paths. But what I am now trying to learn is this new-for-me art of wandering: Of soaking in: Of Listening. Our ears are exquisitely tuned to the music of the wild places. The melodies of the streams, the bird song, the wind in the tall pines: music. The buzz of the bees, that bossy chirp of the squirrel, and yes, the growl of the bear: music.
What if the land actually loves humans? What if it needs us? We evolved with this earth. We evolved with all other species, an interdependent dance, a cosmic web.
Enter: Forest Bathing. Not new, really. But “recently” studied by the Japanese , who have researched the effects of Being in the Forest on our immune system, our blood pressure, our NK cells, our ability to focus, to name just a few. The Forest is here for us. Come to it ready to receive.
Speak to it; let it know what you need. Listen; let it whisper its medicine.
And so I paraphrase a quote from Out of Africa: “If I know a song of Montana, of the bear and the moose and the Glacier new moon lying on her back, of the horses in the fields and the sweaty faces of the ranchers and farmers, does Montana know a song of me? Will the air over these mountains quiver with a color that I have on, or the fish in the streams rise up to greet me? Will the full moon sing her silence to my ears, or will the eagles of the river look out for me?”
Our cosmic connection is a marvelous mystery. We are all a part of this wondrous cosmic web.