Contemporary life is full of millions of stimuli fighting for your attention. We are bombarded with alerts, notifications, pop-ups and announcements. Contrast this type of frantic living with the peaceful experience of being within nature. Trees and flowers demand nothing of you. You are free to notice what you want, or simply to be. This experience has been given a name in Japan. It is called “shinrin-yoku,” which translates to “forest bathing,” using “bathing” to mean immersing yourself within something. The term was introduced in Japan in the 1980s to encourage people to disconnect from technology and spend time outdoors.
When artist and author Deborah Paris began making daily visits to Lennox Woods, a pristine old-growth forest in northeast Texas, she noticed something changed in her relationship with the land.
“I formed a connection with the place,” says Paris. “I began to feel like I was a part of the place—I wasn’t just looking at it anymore. The landscape became part of me.”