Our first outing after we were allowed out of lockdown here in France on May 11th, was to go for a different walk to a local wood.
We were fortunate to spend the two months of self-isolation at home in the countryside, near Paris. We were allowed to go out for a walk every day, within a 1 km radius, with a signed and dated certificate attesting to the reason for our outing. Despite this, my first déconfinement wish was not to rush to the hairdresser’s, go clothes shopping or other more urban delights, but to see a different landscape, somewhere different from the farmed fields that surround our village.
As I wrote in my article “Building A Wood House On Wood Street”, last February, we are having a new house built, not far from our current home. Nothing has happened so far and our project is currently five months behind schedule, which is frustrating, but not a big problem given world events. There is a wood near our future home with a large pond and this is where I wanted to go. I’ve called it a lake in the title, because I like the alliteration, but it’s really just a pond.
So, one sun drenched morning in May, off we went for a long walk in the woods with my Chéri, mother in law and Tess.
My daily walks, my green time, as I think of it, are as vital to my wellbeing as lots of sleep or books to read. Also, I had been rather restricted in what I could photograph being confined to home, so I took my camera with me in eager anticipation of capturing the light, the water and the calming lush green of the forest.
When we eventually move to our new home, sometime next year, I can see myself spending a lot of time in this wood with Tess. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no sense of direction and although I’ve been on this walk a few times with our daughter, who knows the area well, I lead our little party on a very circumvented route to the pond.
We spent more time in the wood than planned because of the longer route and I wonder whether my mistake was one of those ‘accidentally on purpose’ moments and that my subconscious just wanted to make the most of being out and about.
There were a few other people about, cyclists, dog walkers and a family having a picnic. Tess loves to plunge into the pond at a tiny ‘beach’, but the spot was already occupied by two other dogs.
I took many photos on the walk and I’ve enjoyed playing with them or rather …. editing them in my post production software Lightroom, when speaking professionally.
The photo above (on the left) is straight out of camera, in the centre an over exposed smooth edit and on the right, a darker more contrasted edit.
Although, we instinctively know that going for walks in the countryside and or being near water, make us feel calm and replenished, in recent years there have been numerous studies on the topic worldwide. It seems to be a lot of trouble to go to in order to prove the obvious, but the science behind our instincts is interesting nevertheless.
I wrote about forest bathing in this article, “Do You Shinrin Yoku”.
It has now become a recognized relaxation and stress management activity and medical studies in Japan have measured beneficial changes in immune markers and stress hormones, in people who regularly walked in specific forests.
I also wrote about the benefits of spending time in and by oceans, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, fountains in the article “I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside”, inspired by the work of marine biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols and his 2014 book Blue Mind.
“This deep biological connection has been shown to trigger an immediate response in our brains when we’re near water. In fact, the mere sight and sound of water can induce a flood of neuro-chemicals that promote wellness, increase blood flow to the brain and heart and induce relaxation.”
It was a very hot day, made bareable by the leaf canopy, but a long drink was needed for the walk back to the car.
There is a lot of bracken in this particular wood and we plan to plant some in our new garden under the vast oak trees, for which we will be responsible for a while. Areas of lush green bracken have a prehistoric atmosphere and make me think of fossils and dinosaurs.
In Part II of this post, coming soon, I will show you some more of the editing fun I’ve had with water images and in particular a near by lily pond.
Can you help me widen my circle of readers?
If you know people who you think would enjoy my site, please share this post on your social media or by email.
It’s easy, just copy and paste this link:
Thank you for visiting.