Forest Bathing

I recently came across the phrase Forset Bathing. My initial reaction was unrepeatable here, and frankly rude. If my mother was around to hear my language.....

view of a summer forest

view of a summer forest

Then there was a lovely piece in Country File a couple of weeks ago about Forset Bathing and I thought, 'but I've been doing that all my life!' So, what is forest bathing? This definitition from Forestry England says it best.

'This Japanese practice is a process of relaxation; known in Japan as shinrin yoko. The simple method of being calm and quiet amongst the trees, observing nature around you whilst breathing deeply can hekp both adults and children de-stress and boost health and wellbeing in a natural way.' 

view of bare branches against the sky, taken from underneath

light filtering through a forest

a forest pool with light filtering through the trees

I love being in forests. The birdsong and the wind in the leaves helps to distract me from my tinnitus. The cruch of leaves under foot and the splash of the odd puddle never fails to lift my spirits. My son laughs at me as I spend plently of time with my hands on the trunk of a tree just feeling the texture and communing with him (I'm not sure why but I always think of trees as male). 

giant oak tree not yet in leaf

view of fir trees from underneath, with the sky above as contrast

line of beech trees in autumn

Different forests produce different feelings in me. We recently scrambled through a patch of scrubby woodland near our house. It was just like being a child again, evoking that sense of exploration and adventure; following tiny paths to who knows where, scrambling over brush, and splashing through puddles. Majestic soaring beach trees bring back memories of Sunday afternoon family walks where we would be up whatever trees we could managed and the olds would stroll by underneath. 

path through the trees

twisted tree in the forest

bracnhes on the forest floor covered in moss

Each season produces subtly different atmospheres, and weather can give a happy uplifting mood, or a moody and deliciously scary feel. The light slanting through the trees often affirms my belief that there is magic in the world, and that if I look hard enough there will be dragons and fairies around the next corner. That magical feeling, which we take for granted as children and tend to lose as adults, has come back to me on many forest walks, and my spirits never fail to lift when it does.

forest fern

old tree trunk with fungi

fungi on tree trunk

red sycamore leaf

mossy lichen on a branch

I love the abundance of things to look at, and photograph. My phone is full of tree bark, fungi, leaves, moss and my favourite of all, the sun setting behind bare branches. 

sun setting behind trees

Walking into a wood for me is akin to walking into the sea on a summers day. That immediate sense of cool all over the body, of enclosure. There is a magic in trees, and if you stand still and just feel whats around you, it will seep into you and leave you feeling at peace. 

autumn walk through the woods

In honour of trees I've added some of my tree charts for you to play with. You can either knit or corchet them them as the colourwork of your choice, or work the white squares in knit and the black squares in purl (and reverse on the wrong side). They can go together as cushions or blankets, or perhaps a wall hanging. I would recommend using the needle size on the ball band and if using as a blanket or wall hanging, adding a simple garter stitch border will flatten them out nicely. 

Fair Isle knitting chart

oak leaf knitting chart

poplars knitting chart

oak tree knitting chart

forest knitting chart

trees knitting chart


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