Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Healing Power of the Green

The peace of the forest

Loss and grief, like a freight train has barreled into my life. Though well-meaning, tears fall at the simple phrase, "how are you doing?" How to fill those first few days? We found our way to places of meaning. Places he wanted to go when he got better. Places we went together as a family and enjoyed. Happier times, happier memories that we are able to touch upon.

One of those places he most wanted to go was a place of natural beauty - green woodland, streams, and the shore of a fresh water lake. He didn't get there but we did. We hiked a gorge along its stream bed to the waterfall. Some conversion but largely quiet and mediative.

Native woodland plants graced the woodland edges. Wild strawberry, wild ginger, jack-in-the-pulpit, blue cohosh, stone root, and more. Stress and loss melted away. The most peace I had found in days found me in that walk.

After the walk, the kids and I both found the beach. They swam and played in the sand. I found another area to sit beside the lake. To "sit by the lake" here was one of his top goals so I did it for him. A peaceful sleep stole in on me. When the kids were ready to go, they woke a very relaxed me.

Each day more reports of the physical and mental health benefits of a walk through the green are published and shared. But sometimes it is the spirit, which cannot be quantified in scientific studies, that most needs that time with the natural world for it can bring peace and solace to a broken heart, even if only for a time. And in my case, that healing green power was combined with a place that was meaningful to the person now gone, transforming it to a touchstone to shared and happier times.