In honor of this most momentous day, our Summa Contra Gentiles series has been postponed until next Sunday.
Earth Day is a good time to note that environmentalism is growing creepier.
Take the queer practice of “forest bathing.” Forest bathing “doesn’t involve actual bathing, the kind with water. It’s figurative bathing. You soak in the wonders of the forest.” How? By walking slowly.
We used to call forest bathing “taking a walk”. But that was long ago in less enlightened times before mankind learned how to turn commonplaces into marketable experiences.
Amos Clifford, the mastermind behind the movement, leads forest bathing sessions for $50 a stroll. Or for $3,400 you can learn how to be a forest-bathing leader. Clifford also wrote Your Guide to Forest Bathing.
Clifford claims forest bathing “can produce mental, emotional, and physical health benefits” and says your gentle footsteps will “connect with nature as a way to help heal both the planet and humanity.”
A reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle went on a forest bath. He describes a transcendent incident:
There was a long discourse about a hummingbird. Several of us had seen it. The hummingbird had been amazing, we agreed. Also amazing was a wild rose bush, a honeybee, the sound of a distant stream and some purple flowers that nobody knew the name of.
Clifford told him the name of the flower was not important. “What’s important is your relationship to the purple flower,” the reporter concluded.
Spread Your Leaves
And then there were the trees.
“I want everybody to find a tree that’s your twin,” said Clifford. “Talk to your tree. Ask your twin about yourself. Find out all you can from your tree. Put your hand on your tree. Take your time to get to know your tree.”
And so it was that a dozen people walked around, slowly, talking to trees. Like the purple flowers, the trees remained anonymous. We didn’t have to know what kind they were, only what was on their minds.
After 20 minutes of human-tree conversation — much of it one-sided — we forest bathers returned to the same spot and sat down in the same circle to share our conversations with our trees.
“My tree asked me why I was so afraid,” said one forest bather.
“My tree said it thought that we could grow together,” said another forest bather.
I tried this in Central Park and my tree wondered why tourists were so fascinated by the squirrels which scampered up its bark. My tree hated having its picture taken.
My tree didn’t extend its intimacy beyond a chat. This would have been disappointing to Sarah Ensor. She…wants you to click here to read the rest.