Imagine opening your eyes and finding yourself sitting on stump in the middle of the sun-drenched, airy forest in spring.
At first you notice the calm.
But then you realise this there is so much to hear: bird song, wind in the leaves, insects humming and creatures scuttling through the dry debris on the ground.
You close your eyes again, just for a moment, to listen to this bird. This is no alarm; this is pure joy turned into song! Now there is another one, answering.
And there, but farther away, you hear something else. It is a humming.
You stand up and look around. There are many tiny dots zooming through the air. Some are black, some are brown and fuzzy, and some are yellow and black. You can find no pattern in their flights – but they all seem to have purpose and focus.
Something rustles in last year’s dried leaves, about a metre away from your feet, and you turn around. You cannot see anything, but you get the feeling of it being a tiny rodent, surprised by your presence, going about their own forest business. You leave them behind and start to walk.
Something over there, hidden by trees and shrubbery, draws your attention and you start walking to it. It is movement and sound and intriguing.
The trees that surround you are this mixture of very old and very young you have always loved in the forest. The old ones, carrying themselves with dignity, give everything else shelter under their glorious crowns. Then there are other younger ones, daring and full of sap, almost bursting with strength. Are they fighting each other or is your imagination running West side story?
You chuckle, and this makes the ever-present rustling and scuttling louder for a moment.
The tiniest baby trees seem to be shaking for a minute. They fill the forest ground, sprouting through the dry leaves of yesteryears autumn. They seem so naïve, so trusting in their eagerness. You bend down to caress some of these fresh tiny outbursts of life.
Now you are nearly there.
You are standing on the edge of a clearing, full of sunlight, lush shrubs, and the smell of herbs.
In its middle there stands an old dead tree trunk with an opening and from this black opening comes the humming you have been hearing all the time.
You become aware of bees. Bees in the herbs, bees in the air, bees flying in and out of the trunk. Then, as if your sense of smell had been turned on abruptly, there is this overwhelming smell of honey!
The sudden appearance makes you dizzy, and you grab hold of the next tree.
The bark feels cold to the touch, cold and rough and a bit sticky on one spot. You realise that there is an ant running over your fingers, and you wait for it to reach safer grounds before you take your hand away.
Somewhat sobered, you follow the edge of the clearing. The soft sloping of the ground and the shrubs give way to the view of a little brook.
When you get to the brookside, you sit down on a big boulder that is warm and inviting.
You can stretch out and lying there watch the dragonflies dancing. They do not mind you. They dance over the water and the deep green surrounding it, following the complex rules of dance only known to them.
You listen to the murmur of the water mixing with the humming of the bees. There is repetition and harmonies.
This is music and you are feeling like a VIP attending a very special performance.
You smile at the thought and suppress the impulse to applaud the dragonflies. Instead you settle into a more comfortable position, putting your hands behind your head and watching the white clouds caressing the blue sky.
Drinking in the serenity of your surroundings you feel your batteries being filled up and your heart going wide.
You are connected to the trees, to the bees, to the clouds and to the stream. You are part of this dance just like the dragonflies. You feel like melting into the boulder and close your eyes. For a moment you enjoy the relaxation, the serenity. Then you start stretching, moving hands and feet, breathe deeply, and come back into this moment.
Here, where you sit and read this, you know that place to be eternal.
You know that place to be yours, to come back to the forest, whenever you want to.
Heartfelt, wherever you are,
P.S.: I believe that visualising the forests alive and thriving supports them in recovering from everything they are going through.