A Walk in the Woods, Taking Care of Yourself

A Walk in the Woods, Taking Care of Yourself

Just as we’re starting to get the feel for autumn and it getting dark practically right after lunch, boom, here come the holidays. As much as there is to love about them (or not), we all get busier, and some of us get stress-ier. Today is a reminder that there’s […]

Just as we’re starting to get the feel for autumn and it getting dark practically right after lunch, boom, here come the holidays. As much as there is to love about them (or not), we all get busier, and some of us get stress-ier. Today is a reminder that there’s almost nothing a walk in the woods doesn’t make better. A friend of mine says there’s nothing butter and hot sauce won’t make better, but he’s talking about food. At least I think he is.

A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.
A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.

Food for the soul is what we’re talking here. I just heard that if you are ’bout to go to pieces, go outside and sit on the ground with your back against a tree, and the energy of the tree will make you better. Okay that sounds woo-woo. But hell it’s free, legal, and does not involve exercise, (apart from getting up off the ground, I grant you), so it qualifies as an option. I will likely be trying it along about next Tuesday.

A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.
A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.

What’s more where there are trees, there’s moss. I love moss. It’s a bright green furry scarf draped over a drab old rock or dead branch, spiffing it up. It’s also very handy for holiday decorating. If you don’t live near the woods and want some, here’s a source I know and have used: Jamali Garden in New York, and here’s a new one I will try: Save-on-Crafts.com. Reminds me I need to get moving on holiday decorating and ordering flowers and what not.

A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.
A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.

Right now I’m at Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires of Massachusetts  to re-charge for a few days. It’s something I do a couple of times a year–here or somewhere else–by myself (meaning no husband or roommate), in or near nature, and occasionally in contemplation. Oh there’s exercise and the usual spa stuff, and great lectures by leading experts. I always learn something. Sometimes I have a friend or sister along-but we pretty much do our own things and meet for dinner and maybe to paint or bead or (please don’t make me) play bingo. But for me–much as I love a party–the respite of solitude is key; I just have to have it now and then. I’ve come not only to respect it but to honor it, not apologize for it, and make sure I do what it takes to have it.

Moss - A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.

Moss – A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.

Did you know lichens – the soft scaly things that grow on stones and trees – are part moss (fungus) and part algae? Do you know any jokes about lichens? Guess what I do. Freda Fungus took a lichen to Alfred Algae, and theirs is the only relationship that’s on the rocks and still a success.

If you need a joke to tell your nerdy 10-year-old in carpool today, you’ve got it. You’re welcome.

A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.
A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.

How do you re-energize? De-stress? Different people have different strategies. It all comes under the umbrella of taking care of yourself. Make it a priority over the holidays – call it an early Christmas present – and trust me, it will be a gift to everyone around you. What are you going to do? Let us know.

I’ll be quiet now and let you enjoy the woods. In the words of Yogi Berra, it’s amazing what you can observe by just looking 😉

Moss - A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.
A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.
Moss - A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.
A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.
Moss - A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.
A walk in the woods at Canyon Ranch.

This just in… Thursday, Nov. 15… Reader “C McNally” sent this poem, and it is too wonderful not to share. You can also see it in the Comments. Thank you again, C.

Moss

How must it be
to be moss,
that slipcover of rocks?—
imagine,

greening in the dark,
longing for north,
the silence
of birds gone south.

–Bruce Guernsey

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