Forest Bathing @ Washington Park Arboretum

Prescription for nature 💊

📸: Jaime Pharr

📅 Saturday, December 9th
⏰ 10 am – 11:30 am
📍 Washington Park Arboretum: 2300 Arboretum Dr E, Seattle
🖊 Pre-register at the link here

This summer, during Sundaes Outside, a camping event for Black folk put on by Golden Bricks Events, I got to experience the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. Now, if that combination of words conjures images of rolling around in leaves, rubbing yourself against moss, and making mud angels on the forest floor, well, ditto. But forest bathing is a simple antidote combining trees’ calming nature with the mindfulness required to walk.

Forest bathing started as a medical practice back in the 1980s. When doctors realized that technological advances had caused people to spend most of their time indoors, they started prescribing bathing in nature to help alleviate poor health. And the practice has spread. Because, let’s face it, we haven’t gotten any less sedentary since the ’80s. (A recent study showed the average American spends 90% of their time indoors.)

Forest bathing has made its way across the globe, and organizations like the University of Washington and Cascadia Forest Therapy are collaborating to make this form of meditation available locally. This event encourages people to slow their roll and let their senses wander to the sights, smells, sounds, and even tastes of the forest. While the trails aren’t paved, they provide a short (less than a mile) walk. 

Participants are guided through opening their senses and encouraged to partner with the forest. And let me tell you, as someone who loves hiking, forest bathing still blows my mind. Oh, and did I mention they serve tea at the end? 

Tip: Held monthly, go multiple times to discover how the trees change with the seasons. In December, there will be an additional Winter Solstice Walk with an after-dark forest walk, holiday crafting, music, and a cocktail. Leashed dogs are welcome! 

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Patheresa Wells

Patheresa Wells is a Black/Persian, Pansexual, Polyamorous Poet (so many Ps) and writer living in Seatac. An aspiring comic, you can catch her cracking jokes at open mics around the area. In her free time, she likes to imagine what she’d do with free time and feed her backyard crows cuz they’re silly. Follow her on Twitter @PatheresaWells.