This misty Sunday afternoon was a good time for a walk in Myross wood. I’d been to the plant sale there and after picking some new plants for the garden, and a cup of tea that is just what I did. The birds were singing and there was a wealth of new life, flowers and plants, young leaves on the trees as well. I found plenty of beautiful mosses and lichens, also some fungi. As it has been rather wet the last week the woods were full of moisture and many of the plants had rain or mist drops dripping off them. An ideal way to see the forest, beautiful and calm, no wind. There were few other walkers. I could hear the brook from afar adding to an overall feel of dampness which in fact did not disturb me, rather it gave me a refreshing feeling. April in West Cork can be a nice month, still chilly at times but when the sun comes through it gives all of its warmth at once, a very nice feeling that is. Often the month of May is already our summer with temperature going over 20degrees Celsius. But seeing that it is still April the days can be unpredictable, today was misty and windstill, very quiet. The detail that is to be found on the forest floor among some of last autumn’s leaves is amazing, all the new life, so fresh and delicate, beautiful and interesting too. I found plenty of that today. The many photos that I took of the lichen I’ll be showing in another blog post, I simply love lichen and mosses too. Meanwhile enjoy what follows today and thank you for visiting.
HEALING FOREST AND WILD PLANTS
What is nicer and more calming than a walk in a forest. Listening to the sounds, the wind rustling in the canopies, smelling the trees and the herbs, looking at all the different shades of green or brown, feeling the roots or the rocks underfoot. Walking in a forest can be the ultimate sensory experience. When I walk in our local forests with my grandchildren I see them clambering over branches and rocks, paddling through some of the muddy paths, picking up pinecones and twigs with lichens or piece of old bark, and the youngest girl picks up and carries with her any dead branches and trails them behind her all along the walk. Their young minds are open to everything they see and experience no matter how often they actually do these walks. My daughter and son-in-law are real nature lovers and outdoor people and they take the children out on hikes, walks or beach days whenever they can. West Cork has good opportunities for this, and even the unsettle weather or rain does not faze them.
Right now the Irish native forests are full of new life, young plants, flowers and mosses. There are still night frosts and it is still a bit chilly but the sun is getting stronger by the day to our delight. We have had a real light April shower yesterday which refreshed everything and was good for growth. In the forest the spurges are giving a lovely show, the celandine, wood sorrel, blue bells, violets, stitchwort, and wild strawberries are equally blooming. The willow trees which are among the first to provide blossoms for the bees are now almost in full leaf. And already the bumblebees are buzzing!
I find a walk through the forest very calming but also refreshing, I think that it is the good air provided by the trees, the extra oxygen. But there is something more at work, Erich Fromm called it “Biophilia.” which is a love of life, an instinctive fondness for all that is living, our fellow humans, the plants, the trees, the animals. Our human brain craves greenery and an interaction with other living things. I read that we are naturally drawn to natural settings, and apparently things like ‘forest bathing’ can reduce our blood pressure, heart rate and lower our cortisol levels. But most of all it relaxes us and can quieten our often overstretched minds.
From a young age I have found it a need of mine to be surrounded by plants, whether it were houseplants or garden plants, now-a-days to see the green fields from some of our windows gives me great pleasure. But to actually be out in nature and get the full benefit of it has got to be far better still.
I hope that everyone is enjoying either spring or autumn seasons and also looking forward to less restrictions all over the globe.
“Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?” ― Garth Nix, Sabriel
Well today we choose the path, at least we thought that we did, together with my daughter and four of my grandchildren, all of us girls we choose to take a walk in Dromillihy Forest, a walk that led us to the freshly opened bluebells which carpeted the forest landscape in between the deciduous trees. A wonderful view to behold! The girls were climbing the lower branches of the larger trees and excitedly looked for the fairy houses hiding between the ferns and mosses. The children love the forest, love the leaves in autumn and everything else in between. I’m also a tree lover, even hug them, we all do – it feels good. Here the trees are often covered in ivy and moss, also in beautiful lichens. We were touching the moss today and it was as soft as feathers, or silks with a lovely springy feeling like marshmallows. My youngest grandchild, she is only two, choose me as the darling of the day and held my hand right through the walk, we ran down the hilly paths she laughing out loud, a real nature child she is. All the children love nature. We discovered Wood anemones, violets, and other little spring flowers. The scent of the bluebells though was fine and delicate and spread itself all around.
It is the highlight of being back in Ireland, activities with my grandchildren, and chats with my daughter.