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Tree-Hugging Hippie

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

Between bouts of rain, I took a quick walk yesterday, meandering through paths at the University which I don't normally take. All around me, beautiful Australian native trees stood proudly reaching into the afternoon sky.

I had stopped walking for a few months, focusing more on business and mental health research, and less on the things which made my soul soar. But as I turned a corner and rounded a bend, I caught the scent of wattle filling the air. There is nothing quite like that perfume; it's clean crispness immediately lightened my lungs and drew me to its source.

I know the tree, because it has captured me many times over the years. I walked over to it, straying from the path I had chosen, and looked up to it's blossoms. Little balls of furry goodness.

Behind this wattle, was another tree, reaching up towards the grey clouds. It seemed they were meant for each other. And I couldn't resist.

I stood there for some time, breathing in deeply and looking up at the beauty of nature surrounded by boring buildings, noticing nothing but the life-force of these two trees.

I began walking again, revived. Now, it was my head held high, proudly reaching up to the sky. Instead of just rushing my walk to increase my physical activity because it's good for me, I paid attention to the nature around me. Hardly anyone else was about, and I could have hugged as many trees as I liked. I spoke silently to them, admiring how simply gorgeous they all were; but there were so few people that I could have spoken those words of admiration aloud.

There's something very grounding about the connection you make when you touch a tree. For me, that feeling of palm to bark is almost electrifying. Wrapping your arms around a sturdy thick trunk, can give you a sense of security that may be lacking, from the many other things and activities with which you fill your life.

When you find a tree that's big enough to support you, there's a chance to regain your inner kid, climbing up off the ground and seeing the world from another (higher) perspective.

It brings to mind, happy memories of childhood, climbing the apricot tree in the back yard. White chooks would scratch in the lush grass below, while I would find a branch to be my sun-lounge, and I'd feast on fruits that were still warm and juicy from being just-picked by my tiny hands.

So, going for that walk yesterday was good for me, but in so many more ways than just the initial motivation. As I said earlier, I had stopped walking for a while and had regained some weight that I lost last year. I've started fortnightly visits to a dietician, and exercise is an important factor to weight loss. That was the initial motivation.

There were other benefits, I came to realise. Firstly, when I started out, I was cold! That's why I walked briskly. I warmed up just enough to be quite comfortable for the rest of the evening, and didn't even need to turn on the heater.

The other benefits were more psychological, though. Being cooped up all day inside, can not only insulate your body from the cold and rain; it can insulate your mind to solutions and pleasures. Fresh, cool air can awaken your senses, so you notice life again, in all it's glory. Blood, pumping through your body, will reach your brain and sharpen your perception of what's real.

As I walked home, I caught a brief glimpse of the full moon, glowing behind grey clouds. I love the moon, La Luna, and I speak to her when I see her. I tell her how lovely she looks, and she fills my heart with a soft and gentle light.


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