Let's join in with John Muir's thinking--let's not hike; let's SAUNTER!
My husband and I were recently able to travel to New Mexico. Whenever we're in that great state, we always schedule some time for hiking. This time was no exception, but I have to say, I have trouble with that word hiking also; I don't consider myself a hiker, but I love a walk through the cool woods. My friend (who is also a Facebook friend), must have sensed my discomfort with the concept, so sent me this posting from the Facebook page, "Historical Snapshots." It's a good one and it's from that page that I got Muir's wonderful quote:
"Hiking--I don't like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains--not hike! Do you know the origin of that word saunter? It is a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, 'A la sainte terre,' 'To the Holy Land.' And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not 'hike' through them." John Muir
I shared the message from my friend Shirley with my husband. I explained to him that on our next stop to enjoy the fall foliage, I would be sauntering! Actually he did as well! With hiking, you're focused on a destination--to the waterfall, to the lookout point, to the mountaintop. But when you saunter, you take time to enjoy the scene and really just immerse yourself in the forest! I loved it!
Which brings me to another concept I've heard about: Forest Bathing! Now before you go stripping off your clothes and head to your local park, let me explain. It's a Japanese concept and it's been around since the 1980's. As I understand it, it's just strolling through a forest or other natural area and perhaps sitting or relaxing awhile taking in all of nature. One tries to put themselves in a reflexive mood and slow your heart rate and breathing. It's a peaceful state that can reduce stress and bring you calm. I've put some websites about it at the end of my blog. And even though it's called "forest bathing," it doesn't have to be done in a forest--just any natural area away from the crowds and noise. I'm a Texas Panhandle girl, and love the canyon up that way, Palo Duro Canyon. It's a great place to walk on a cool fall or spring day, It would work great for "forest bathing." Really!
So there you have it, grandparents! Two great concepts for your health and long-life: sauntering and forest-bathing. It doesn't require a picturesque canyon or a pine forest. Just walk through your neighborhood or a local park. As they have told us for years--STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES! Actually use all your senses--smells, sights, sounds, and touch. Absorb and immerse yourself in nature. To your health! And thank you, Shirley, for your message about sauntering. You planted the seed for this blog!
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!