By Peggy Bainard Acheson

Looking for a word to describe the past year has proven elusive.  Since I don’t think “crazy” does justice to what we have all been through, I looked it up in my trusty thesaurus and found many words, such as bizarre, outrageous, nuts, etc., none of which seem to appropriately or completely capture all the emotions, frustrations, and loss that we have endured. And we may not be out of the woods yet. Despite more and more vaccines arriving and eligibility ages being reduced almost daily, the spread of new variants may bring the possibility of more lockdown measures. It is hard to imagine what life would be like without the opportunity to get out into the fresh air where presumably we are safe from the virus (at least when at a 2m distance). Over the winter we were happy to see that many people had walked the trail and packed the snow to such an extent as we have never seen before. I was out there myself a couple of times and enjoyed the special qualities that can only be found at the trail on a clear, winter’s day. First the fresh, cedar-scented air is tangible, and second, the snow creates such a pristine contrast to the darkness of the forest.

The air along the trail always reminds me of things I have read about forest bathing, or shinrin yoku, as it is known in Japan. The idea is that when you slow down and immerse yourself in a living forest you receive benefits, such as a reduced heart rate, lower stress and blood pressure, and a boost to your immune system. Great things when you’re trying to stay healthy and ward off a nasty virus. Maybe this is how we combat the craziness of the past year.

Stay safe everyone!