The more time I spend in the woods, the more time I want to spend with them. Yesterday, I limbed a pinyon I’d spent days cutting down. The work became easier. Much easier than expected. The first part – cutting down an oversized tree with a 12″ diameter trunk, was much more difficult. I never thought I’d actually finish the job.
I worked at it day by day, whittling away until it looked like it had been beavered. There was still a good amount of sap in the tree. Cutting down a green tree is brutal work, especially when all you have to do it with is a dull handsaw. The first few days, I dreaded heading out there to do it. But in the era of lockdown, it’s a good use of time. I slept better at night after a few hard hours out there in the forest. My hands, my arms ached at night. But I got into better shape. I began to look forward to the work.
After I finished my writing in the mornings, my time as a sawyer in the afternoons became the best part of my day. Cleaning the woods is cleaning my house. What I do to the earth is what I do to myself. You can remodel the inside of your home. You can remodel what lies outside of it, too. Cleaning up the woods – removing dead and beetled trees, picking up the beer cans and plastic bags and old Styrofoam cups – that’s giving myself a sauna, a soak in a hot tub, and a shower all at once. All that I do, I do to me.
I think I’m giving the woods a bath. But really, they’re giving one to me. It’s called forest bathing, and reliable research shows that it has a positive effect on health, especially immunity. Everything I do, I do to me.
© 2022 by Michael C. Just
Mike’s novel, The Dirt: The Journey of a Mystic Cowboy, is available in softcover or eBook formats through Amazon.
You can purchase the book through this website. Or go straight to amazon at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=the+dirt+journey+of+a+mystic+cowboy&crid=1S40Q4BXSUWJ6&sprefix=the+dirt%3A+journey+of+a+m%2Caps%2C180&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_23
Mike’s other titles, including The Crippy, The Mind Altar, and Canyon Calls, are available through this website or through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002
Four of his short stories have recently been published online:
Lies, Ltd. has been published by The Mystery Tribune @ Lies, Ltd.: Literary Short Fiction by Michael C. Just (mysterytribune.com)
The Obligate Carnivore has been published by the Scarlet Leaf Review @ Category: MICHAEL JUST – SCARLET LEAF REVIEW
I See You, Too has been published by the 96th of October @ I See You, Too – 96th of October
Offload, a short story about a man who can heal any disease, is now live and can be read at The Worlds Within at Offload – The Worlds Within
You Get the Two, a novelette, has been published in the anthology, The Kids Are Hell, now available in print, eBook, kindle or audio format at Kids are Hell!- Anthology (hellboundbookspublishing.com)