Forest Bathing

My friend who recently traveled to Japan told me about shinrin-yoku, the Japanese practice of forest bathing.  The goal is to take a mindful stroll through the forest in order to improve your health and mental well-being.  You're not walking for exercise or to reach a destination; it's all about immersing yourself in nature.  Apparently this trend has already taken off here in the United States.  There are literally hundreds of articles titled "I Tried Forest Bathing."  There are forest bathing meetup groups, forest bathing certification courses, and you can even pay to forest bathe at Lake Austin Spa.  Has everyone I know been meandering barefoot through the forest, stroking bark and smelling the dirt?  Why didn't anyone invite me?!

Despite being a skeptic, I'm up for anything that offers me the illusion of control, so I'm making it a point to get lost in nature.  Sometimes I take the girls with me.  I don't know if the sights and smells of the forest are doing anything to relieve my recurrence anxiety, but my kids have learned how to pee in the woods, so it hasn't been entirely pointless.  They both love to gather interesting things from nature and then artfully arrange them on an altar to the nature gods.  They also fill my pockets and backpack with nature to bring home.  Pretty soon, my house will resemble a forest, and I can just sit naked in my living room to forest bathe.

I even made Jeff come on one of these nature excursions.  I ran ahead with Julia to hug trees and left him to help Claire across the creek.  Predictably, she stepped in the water and started crying about her wet shoe.  While I was taking in the beauty of my surroundings, I saw Jeff give me the finger. 

On another nature outing, I came across this beautiful memorial bench and thought, "Ooh, I should start planning my memorial bench in case the cancer comes back." 

I'm still playing around with the right words.  It obviously has to be written from the perspective of my loving family, and it has to sound authentic.  Something like: "For my wife, who made me go outside, but I loved her anyway."

I sense that some of you are starting to tear up.  Don't panic, this is just long-term planning.  I had bloodwork done last week, and my tumor markers are in the normal range, so everything is looking good.