This month we asked our readers:
How do you get lost in the forest?
After thirty years of teaching middle school, I retired and took a huge, brave leap to a home in Sequoia National Monument and Forest. Surrounded by mountains studded with pine, cedar, and redwoods that echo the sounds of the river, I find myself found by becoming lost in the beauty of living things all around me. —Gayle Unzueta
From the very first footsteps into the forest I am lost in her beauty. I’m hypnotized by moss-covered tree stumps, new growth on old branches, and places where my feet sink into the mud that I thought were solid. And don’t get me started on all the amazing fungi …
I spend most of my time in the woods in the maorning hours. The landscape has just woken up (I’m a photographer), and I’m fresh for a “journey.” I follow the thoughts of John Muir in that I do not hike. I saunter, letting nature call to me, invite me to capture its essence in a photograph.
Walking the paths, crossing streams, enjoying the smell of the trees, sunlight streaming through in places, climbing boulders, gentle breezes rustling the trees, scurrying squirrels, darting dragonflies, cawing crows, the occasional deer, and standing by a lake or pond at the edge of the woods. I love being there with no one else around other than my daughter. The quiet of no other human voices or footfalls. —niki_lawson
I love indulging the senses in a way you can’t anywhere else: listening to birdsong, watching the dappled light play among the branches, smelling fresh earth and tree sap, feeling the cool air on my skin. Just finding peace.—Stephanie Yarton
Just beyond one of the largest oak trees in my nearby forest lies a low grass plain that is always filled with songbirds, woodpeckers, and deer. On my birthday (coincidentally Beltane), I like to bring local sweet flowers and a handful of Jonathan apples for the fauna. —solardropper
I love the concept of shin rin yoku, or forest bathing. Walking alone or with my dog, I explore, each step trying to use all my senses, taking turns to focus on each one and what it is experiencing. I think about how much older some of the trees are, what types of messages they are sending to each other underground via their mycelium network, alerting each other to my presence. Eventually, I receive their message as well—we are all one, together, in Gaia, Mother Earth. Just breathe deeply and you will remember. —su_sanmc
Be still. Be quiet. Be patient. Wait. And wait some more. Then suddenly, all that was hidden in plain sight unfolds and blossoms until the magic overwhelms you. —belindafarage
I like to bring our dog, Loki. We explore together and take turns leading and finding new things. There is a small meadow in the woods at the ridge by our home, and my fiancé and I spend hours up there watching hawks and looking for little geodes or persimmons. —othersidecreations
I sit among the tall pines or gather the earth’s medicine, enjoying the soundscapes that my ancestors knew so well. —Shannon Lezovich
I love for the forest spirits to guide me. No plan, no thoughts, just my intuition and wherever the forest takes me. It’s always an adventure! —a_fairy_foxy_girl