Just a five minute drive from the house where I grew up, there is a forest where I love to take walks. There are several options: you can take the tarmac path straight into the heart of the forest, you can explore muddy side paths or you can walk right at the foot of the trees, your shoes sinking with each step into the deep layers of fallen leaves.
Today I mostly ignored the paths and spent the morning deep in the humid undergrowth, guided by every splash of colour or unusual shape, looking at the tiniest details to see what I could find. I was welcomed by trees, mushrooms, mosses and lichens of all types, as well as slugs patiently gliding along and snacking on mushrooms.
On my treasure hunt for beauty, there was just the sound of birds calling to each other. I felt perfectly in the moment, taking in all the beautiful colours and textures. I experimented with photographing what I came across, until my jeans were dirty and humid from kneeling down to get close to the forest floor.
Forest bathing is so healing. Looking at myself in the mirror when I got home I was glowing like I’d just had a long nap or a restorative massage, my body kindly reminding me, yet again, that I should surround myself with nature more often:)
Travelling to Japan is high on my wishlist of destinations, but I haven’t quite organised it yet. For now I live vicariously through books, my sister’s travel stories and photos. However lately I got a lovely taste of Japan. For my birthday, two dear friends gifted me an outing to go to the Japanese garden in the The Hague, which is open only a few weeks a year in Spring and Autumn. We planned the date several months in advance so as not to miss the window of opportunity, so I also got to enjoy looking forward to it!
The garden draws quite a lot of visitors, so it was quite busy on the morning we went, but that didn’t stop us from taking the time to soak up all the beautiful details, colourful bridges and plants.
It was lovely to explore, walking along the paths so as not to disturb the fragile mosses that cover the ground in a comfy-looking carpet. Gorgeous lanterns, harbouring delicate mosses and lichens, were brought over last century from Japan along with native Japanese plants.
The autumn colours were spectacular with orange and green intermingled, highlighting the changing of the season, and all sorts of mushrooms were popping up all over the place.
Even though it’s just an hour from Amsterdam, I had the feeling like I’d been to another continent for a short while (feeling extra good without all those CO2 emissions from flying!). Thanks so much ladies and here’s to experience gifts and travel opportunities close to home! 🙂
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #62
I have lots of good intentions about going for a walk first thing in the morning when I’m not rushing to work, but for some reason I resist them fiercely. Though I know it would be good for me to begin the day by moving my body, getting some fresh air and being in touch with the elements, somehow I usually come up with all sorts of things that need doing before I head out.
However today the sun was beckoning after yesterday’s windy storm, so before starting anything else I just put on my shoes and left the house.
I had a beautiful walk. It felt so great to be outside and take my time, with no specific destination in mind, my only goal being to try and walk on the sunny side of the street as much as possible. The cold woke me up and I enjoyed looking at the sun playing hide and seek in passing clouds. To be present and not get too lost in my thoughts, I focussed on small things that caught my eye, like the unusual beauty in a colourful lichen or branches of a willow tree gently knotted together…
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #36
These stunning bright orange lichens grow all over the rocks throughout Capraia. I tried to photograph them repeatedly but the pictures don’t really do justice to how marvelous they are.
As we were exploring the island, our guide Mariella explained that Capraia counts in total around 400 types of lichen, which I’d say is not bad for an island measuring just 20 square kilometers. I’m grateful to Pacha Mama for having created such diversity even in the tiny details, with insanely fascinating shapes and gorgeous colours.