Deep under the cover of leaves and rolling mist, the trees whispered their secrets to me. My heart expressed its sorrows and the moss blanketing the forest silently understood. I have been experiencing some personal heartache recently, and as much as reason exhorts emotion to be still, sometimes all you really need to do to reflect on pain is to remove yourself to a different reality to encourage a likewise change in perspective. It almost always works for me.
I flew to Kagoshima and then took the hydrofoil (a fancy word for a quick ferry) to Yakushima for a strong dose of shinrin-yoku (森林浴 forest bathing), calling upon nature as therapy. My friend Daniel, who I met back in January on a ski/snowboard trip to Nozawa Onsen, joined me (*friendship level-up!).
Mononoke Hime, known to English-speaking audiences as Princess Mononoke, is based on this forest. Apparently Hayao Miyazaki, one of his main animators Masashi Ando, and a team of artists went to Yakushima to sketch landscapes for the film back in 1995. Japanese people hold a deep reverence for nature and I felt this peace ring through my body in my two days in these forests. I could not have asked for a more warm embrace by my friends the veteran 3000 year old trees, moss, gentle deer, sly spiders, and mercurial skies. Not only beautiful to look at, but they expect nothing in return and are the best listeners 🙂
Heartbreak can be manifest in many ways, whether it be romantic of platonic. It’s okay to feel sad, just remember that you are magical and you will keep radiating love into the universe. You will attract what you express. You may stumble, but you will not stay down.
Japanese wilderness explorer uniform
my spidey senses are tingling…
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
– Robert Frost (1922)
xo your friend alice
Location: Yakushima, Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan