‘Forest bathing’ Takes Tree Hugging to New Extremes

Soak in the wonders of the forest

Image Credits: Franz Jachim / Flickr.

There’s a revolutionary new way to walk through the forest. V-e-r-y slowly.

Take a few steps. That’s far enough. Now sit down and talk it over with the person next to you, for a long time.

It’s a New Age thing in Sonoma County. Walking very slowly through the forest — while thinking about walking very slowly through the forest — is a full-blown movement. It could be a paradigm. The people who do this call it “forest bathing.” It doesn’t involve actual bathing, the kind with water. It’s figurative bathing. You soak in the wonders of the forest. Take your time, a whole lot of it. And bring a cushion.

About a dozen of us forest bathers were sitting on the ground the other morning at Quarryhill Botanical Garden, in Glen Ellen (Sonoma County), to find out what it was all about. We had taken an hour to meander from the parking area 50 yards down a manicured garden trail overlooking a vineyard. The idea was to look closely at absolutely everything. Examine all twigs. Inspect all leaves. If you see an ant, stop and take it in. Get up close and personal with your ant.

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