Forest Bathing: Autumn Plunge

The last time I was in Vermont, it was summer – July to be exact. Everything was green in the green mountains, and I was in need of some physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. I had read about the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, or Forest Bathing. I immediately loved the image that came to mind – walking down woodland paths or up steep mountain paths and soaking in all that nature has to offer. My summer Forest Bathing post can be viewed here.

As is our tradition, my husband and I travel up to Vermont in October to witness the leaves changing color in all variations of radiant yellow, orange, russet, red, crimson, and purple. This year was a spectacular display. Whenever we went there was vibrant color – a real-life watercolor – colors blended into each other and the sky was a clear, cloudless blue. I could not wait to get into the woods, to surround myself with color, with the natural signs of the changing seasons. As I walked, I took photos and wrote poetry in my head. This is what my Autumn plunge created.

A Gathering of Birds: Poems for Autumn

It is time of gathering. Bare branches stretch up to the sky. The last of autumn’s glorious colored leaves cling to the trees. Squirrels and chipmunks scurry across the frozen ground retrieving nuts and seeds they have collected. An ever- changing assortment of birds alight on branches, flit from fence post to fence post, come to feed on the seeds a samaritan has left on the ground. This time of year is a time for celebration, a time to bring friends and family together, a time to reflect for all we are grateful for. And still I feel a sense of sadness. A loss for the green and growing. A loss for summer’s promise and spring’s renewal. I await the winter mornings with trepidation. But her icy fingers beckon. and I know I must follow. Everything has a season. I am fortunate to live in a place where nature surrounds me. I take comfort in the industrious birds who decorate the landscape before me.