Recharging in the Trees

Have you ever heard of “forest bathing”? Its the Japanese practice of going into the forest to commune with the trees. There is even an association for it. The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy says:

Forest Therapy is a research-based framework for supporting healing and wellness through immersion in forests and other natural environments. In Japan it is called “shinrin yoku,” which translates to “forest bathing.” Studies have demonstrated a wide array of health benefits, especially in the cardiovascular and immune systems, and for stabilizing and improving mood and cognition.

John Muir, the father of our National Park system in the United States emigrated from Scotland at the age of 11. When he traveled to Yosemite in 1868 at 39, he found his home. John Muir understood forest therapy. He said:

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

Nature is a work of art. That certainly goes without saying. But there is something primal about creating a portrait of a tree.

I don’t mean a lollipop tree from our kindergarten days. I mean a real – look at that tree and see where those lines are growing up and down and out in twisty lines. To grow the trunk from the roots in the ground up to the tip top of the highest branch – to scribble clusters of leaves in green and yellow and blue – just feels so … natural. It really is incredibly satisfying. And then to decorate it with exactly what you are hoping for (in my case it was snow) is a great catharsis.

I created this mixed media drawing using watercolor pencils, oil pastels and twin touch markers in various shades of green and blue and brown and grey.

So go! Take your pencils and paper and commune with nature. Draw some trees. It’s great therapy.

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