森林浴 (Shinrin-yoku) (n.)
(n.) the art of “taking in the forest atmosphere”
i really enjoy hiking in the mountains and walking in the forest. During these treks, i get the most wonderful feeling, particularly when i wander under a canopy of leaves and trees. In those moments, the trees and leaves speak to me (in silence, of course ;o). And, i feel a sense of connection with my environment, and all of nature around me.
Recently i created a Shinrin-yoku eco-print photo album on Facebook. The album is essentially an artistic celebration of our connection with nature as applied to cloth and paper. Similar to my Komorebi album, i’ll periodically post details about my Shinrin-yoku postings, and associated artwork, here on my website.
Oh yes, and speaking of “taking in the forest atmosphere”…my friend, Suzanne, and i meet at our neighborhood park for a walk with our dogs several times a week. After we’ve wandered the forest trails, under the canopy of trees and leaves, we take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee. Our conversations often turn to botanicals…our gardens, the trees and leaves we encounter during our walk, plant names, and our challenges with nature.
On one particular occasion late last Fall, Suzanne discussed with me her woes about her miniature “dwarf” pomegranate forest. It had grown way beyond “miniature”. In fact, she had an epiphany about the botanical term “miniature pomegranate”.
The reason? Well, the many “miniature” pomegranate bushes she had planted several years ago were no longer so “miniature”. Instead, the bushes grew to a gargantuan size with “miniature” pomegranate fruit.
And, to add insult to injury, many of those “miniature pomegranates”, as if to escape the gargantuan bushes, had flung themselves off the bushes outwards onto her front lawn (splat!).
Those pomegranates were not a pretty sight. They were shriveled-up and wrinkled. And, yes, they were ugly little things…poor Suzanne…what was she to do?
Well, oh so lucky me :o) Suzanne asked if i might find a use for the far-flung, shriveled and wrinkled. Hmmm, i thought to myself that “i should help-out my friend” ;o) So, of course, i said, YES!
So, i rescued the far-flung, shriveled and wrinkled…and, into my dyebath they went along with a few eco-bundles.
The eco-bundles happily danced around in the pomegranate skin dyebath (and, how could they not be happy in all that tannin?). There they danced with a few tannin leaf cousins in the bundles too…spring oak, dried eucalyptus cineria from an old florist bunch, and a few sweet gum. Well, there were a few leaves with no names, and some miniature pomegranate flowers in the bundles too.
Oh, and i almost forgot. I threw in an old wool skein…it was yet another one of those skeins rejected by its former owner, unloved and rescued by me.
After an hour or so of dancing around, the eco-bundles, wool skein, and dyebath sat still and danced no more. There they sat, in the dyebath, overnight…in silence.
The very next morning, when the sunlight streamed thru my studio forest canopy, i removed the skein and bundles, and allowed them to dry in the filtered komorebi sunshine.
Once dry, i pulled-out my trusty bobbin winder and wound the once unloved wool skein into a tidy bunch of golden dreams…
and, opened my bundles revealing a beautiful golden tan canopy on the forest floor…
sigh…but, there’s more! ahem…just look at the itsy bitsy string marks on my forest floor leaves that jumped-out of the bundles as i opened them…
So that, my friends, is my story of my Shinrin-yoku “miniature” pomegrante forest walk. May you, too, find joy in art and nature (and miniature Zakuro pomegranates (ザクロ))!