Have you heard of the Japanese concept of Shinrin-yoku? This translates to “forest bathing” and while established decades ago in Japan as a means to restore health and well-being, it’s catching on here too. I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve come across recently… here’s one.
The idea is to spend time in a forest or natural area, but in a relaxed, meditative state where you experience your surroundings with all five senses. Basically, mindfulness in nature.
Scientific studies show this technique results in numerous physiological and psychological benefits, but you don’t need a blood-pressure monitor or cortisol test to tell you you feel more relaxed and less stressed afterwards. It’s a no-brainer. At least it is for me.
But here in Delray Beach and nearby, forests are not easy to come by. There are a few tiny stands here and there, called Hammocks, preserved as nature areas (I’ll post about these in the future), but most have been destroyed by agricultural clearing and development.
So I found myself wondering, if not a bath in a full forest of trees, what about a shower beneath just one? It’s not quite what the Japanese had in mind, but it’s better than nothing. And the stunning Tabebuia tree seemed like the perfect tree to try.
Pronounced tah-beh-BOO-ya, these trees can be found across Florida and lately they’ve put on quite a show.
They come in pink and lavender too, but the most striking (and most popular) are the yellow tabebuia. The contrast of golden clusters against a cool blue sky is undeniable.
The sheer profusion of flowers, a whole truckload of trumpet bouquets, but with hardly a leaf in sight, is breathtaking. Almost magical.
This is the first one I showered beneath…
And this next one stopped me in my tracks on my way to lunch last week…
I showered beneath this one for a good long time, indulging in its respite from the blasting midday heat, feeling the “raindrops” of petals tickling my cheeks, studying the asymmetrical complexity of its branching form. Did I feel rejuvenated afterwards?
Yes. And more.