In an unhurried way, allow your feet to wander.
Shinrin-yoku is not about excercise.
It is not about hurry.
It is about being alive in all your senses
and trusting that the forest
and other landscapes upon which you wander
hold something good for you.
The exhalations of the forest
We breathe them in, as we have been built over aeons to do.
Oak trees have one kind of medicine.
Fragrant pines at mid day have another.
The middle-sized herbs of the shady places
Offer their own healing powers.
We breathe in,
We breathe out,
an exchange as ancient as time.
Take the time to look
in a relaxed way
at a single thing
for a long moment.
Then you will see it–
that detail that was there
all along, and that always
in the past you have missed.
Look longer; let the play
of shadow and light
come in to you of their own
Remember the feeling of mud between your toes?
Of cold creek water running over your bare feet?
How does the wind of the East caress your skin?
Does it differ from the wind of the West?
The air of morning holds in its dew the memory of night.
Our ears are exquistely tuned
to the constant chorus
of wild places.
The waters, the movement of the trees
high above in the breeze
the constant gossip of birds
the humming of insects,
the chuff of a nearby squirrel;
we know these sounds.
Walk quietly, like a fox
let them in.
What if the land actually loves humans?
What if it needs us?
As our species evolved with all other species
in an interdependent dance,
a long ceremony of mutuality,
each of us bound by invisible threads
within a vast web of interdependence?
If this is the way of things,
then does it not make sense that the land needs us?
Come to it ready to invite its gifts.
Speak to it; let it know what you need.
Listen; let it whisper its medicine.