The earth laughs in flowers.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
And may we see earth’s laughter soon!
I took this picture yesterday at a woodland park north of Detroit. The sky was unsettled, with thunder clouds coasting on the humid breeze, like tall ships on a restless sea. But, the sun shone often enough to remind me that summer yet lingered, if only as a morning star before dawn.
Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese word meaning, literally, forest bathing, and invokes the restorative effect of spending time in the stillness of the woods. This photo shows a remarkable park, Hartwick Pines in Michigan. By the early 20th century, northern Michigan was essentially logged out, vast expanses of barren land looking like a monumental scythe had cut down the rich forests. Fortuitously, this small woods escaped clear cutting. The older trees started their lives in the 17th century, well before the French explorer, Cadillac, founded Detroit. To immerse yourself here, if only for a couple hours, is to relive a bit of our planet’s history. Truly, this forest bathing restores the spirit.
Reassurance is the melody of clear, cold water rushing over a rocky stream bed on its race through the pines and around the bend to a destination unseen, dispelling doubt that has crept in on stealthy feet, restoring conviction to your soul.
Sometimes you hear it in the rush of pristine water over timeless rocks, or you might catch the rustle of a breeze in the flowers along a riverbank. But, always the whisper of truth is awaiting your discovery.
A brook murmuring in a Michigan woods leads a fragile existence. I returned last weekend to this spot, where I took this photo in the spring rush of early June, and found the stream’s course was barely more than a trickle of water and a path of dark, damp earth among the ferns and skunk cabbage. Yet, it was enough to refresh a fawn who stopped for a drink before skittering off through the trees at the sight of an intruder.