Sunday, August 6, 2017

Nothing is as satisfying as a walk in the woods

My self-portrait
Everyday, it seems, there is another story in the media about the health benefits from walking in the woods. It lowers your blood pressure; it relieves stress, etc.
I have no way of quantifying my own experience from walking in the woods (or bush as we call it here) but I know there is nothing like it. I'm especially lucky in that we live on a large tract of forested land. Ten steps out the backdoor and I'm surrounded by trees.
In addition to the therapeutic effects of woods walking, I find there are doubly more rewards when you make and maintain your own trails as I do. Every time I cut up a fallen tree or mow the weeds on my trails I get a great feeling of accomplishment. There is also just the workout that comes from chainsawing, moving log sections, cutting overhanging limbs with a brush axe and so forth.
One of my trail-making goals is to make a corduroy roadbed through a couple of swampy sections that can turn me back in wet weather. I'll be sure to post it here when I do.
I always do my walking with a camera in my pocket and an eye peeled for new wildflowers. I find a new one on just about every trip. There are also mushrooms, birds and animals, neat light-effects from the tree leaves and other things to photograph.
Have you ever heard of walking meditation? Check it out. To me meditation is simply being totally aware of the moment. So when I'm practising walking mediation, I try to be aware of the sensation of the ground beneath my feet, the smells of the vegetation, sounds of the birds and wind -- things like that -- as well as noticing all the plant and animal life. Worries and troublesome thoughts vanish. There's just no room for them.

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Newly mowed trail

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