On Sunday, October 8th, we embarked on a forest bathing journey led by Seth McGee. Our adventure began at the Frautschi Point parking lot, the gateway to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. Seth encouraged us to let our curiosity guide the way as we ventured deeper into the preserve. He shared insights about the origins of the practice of forest bathing, explaining how most recently, in the late 1970s, Japanese government scientists formalized the intentional and widespread practice of immersing oneself in the healing embrace of the forest, known as "Shinrin-yoku."
As we walked through the preserve, we discussed the connection between humans and nature and the myriad benefits of being in natural environments. The collective energy of the forest enveloped us as we walked. Our group embraced the essence of forest bathing by intentionally slowing down, cultivating calmness, and observing the forest with a heightened sense of awareness. Seth's guidance encouraged us to experience the forest deliberately, appreciating the subtle wonders that nature had to offer.
Seth expertly engaged our senses, inviting us to explore the forest's rich tapestry. We savored the earthy scent of walnut seeds and tasted the seeds and leaves of native plants. The forest, once a passive backdrop, became a multisensory experience, heightening our connection to the natural world. Throughout our journey, we were serenaded by the songs of countless birds, from warblers to finches.
As our forest bathing excursion neared its conclusion, Seth handed each of us a guide sheet and we all individually ventured into the forest on our own. This solitary experience enabled us to practice forest bathing philosophy and techniques learned during the trip.
Our forest bathing field trip led by Seth McGee was a truly enriching and transformative experience. Through intentional mindfulness, sensory engagement, and a deeper connection with the forest, we experienced the healing power of nature, reminding us that in nature, we find not only beauty but also solace for our minds and spirits.
Report and photos by Yara AL-Rayyan