Being in my hometown means I have the luxury of being in walking distance of the forest. Yesterday I made the most of a rain-free afternoon to go for a walk. Though the trees have no leaves yet, the branches carry tiny buds and white flowers are growing on the forest floor, a glimmer of hope that spring is finally on its way. The path is a little muddy, winding up and down the slopes and along old rock walls. At some stage, we are deep enough in the forest to no longer hear the road, the sound of cars is replaced by the birds singing and the crack of the branches under our feet.
I love the feeling when my body gets into the rhythm after walking a while and my feet just carry me along, step after step with no particular goal, as I take in the beauty of the forest. I could walk for hours like this, until my body is tired and my mind is clear. In Japan they acknowledge the healing benefits of spending time in the forest and call it forest bathing (what a perfect name!), it’s even part of the national public health program. Imagine what the world would be like if every country did that?