Tree Hugging & Forest Bathing

It’s no secret that walking in nature can transform a mood—isn’t that one of the many reasons we love mountains?

When Brian Boggs sees a chair, he sees the soul of a tree and its place in a forest. When he was just eight years old, Boggs read a book called Make a Chair from a Tree by John Alexander that proved life-changing. In the March/April issue, we visit Boggs at his studio, in "Furniture with Soul."

Brian Boggs. Photo by Kevin Barnes

Last year we were all about hygge, the cozy Danish decorating and lifestyle trend. This year the focus is on trees and shinrin-yoku, the Japanese art and science of forest bathing like sunbathing, but in the woods. (Don’t knock it until you try it!) Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness is written by a scientist yet reads like poetry.

Photo courtesy of Penguin Books

Last year, for the first time I visited the Mariposa Forest in Yosemite, a land of giants. I was awestruck by these ancient trees and their magnificence. It was truly a humbling experience to stand next to a mammoth gnarled trunk and think about their longevity on the planet.

Photo by Darla Worden

Artist Bryan Nash Gill loved trees. In his life he created patterns of great beauty by reusing fallen and damaged logs, making large-scale relief prints from the cross-sections and creating prints from the wood—mesmerizing impressions from within. Those fallen trees live on through Gill’s work—as does he. You can check out his beautiful creations in his book Woodcut, where he shows us, there is, indeed, nothing lovely as a tree. 

Photo courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press

Spending time in the woods has numerous health benefits, including reducing blood pressure, stress and blood sugar levels—but this isn’t news to mountain lovers. We know how our whole bodies relax when walking on a bed of pine needles with dappled light filtered through branches. It’s no secret that walking in nature can transform a mood—isn’t that one of the many reasons we love mountains?

Categories: Baths, On Location