Dame Judi Dench recently revealed herself to be Britain’s foremost celebrity nemophilist.
A person who loves or is fond of woods or forests.
A haunter of the woods; one who loves the forest and its beauty and solitude.
Origin: Mid 19th century; earliest use found in The Atlantic Monthly. From ancient Greek νέμος wooded pasture, glade + -philist.
Walking in nature, especially in woodland or a forest, brings me into the present moment. I have no thoughts of past or future, no worries or anxieties. I slip into a state of mindfulness, fully present in the Now. I become aware of my surroundings. Everything seems bright and beautiful, vibrant, alive. My senses are heightened. I hear the birdsong, feel the earth beneath my feet, and I absorb the energy pulsing from the trees.
Woodlands are said to reduce stress and anxiety and help us to sleep better. Researchers have found that spending time in a forest can lower the stress hormone cortisol, decrease blood pressure and calm pulse rates. Trees also release chemicals which boost the immune system.
Doctors in Shetland are now giving out prescriptions to their patients for a helping of nature therapy.
The Japanese practise ‘Shinrin Yoku’, which literally means ‘forest bathing’. The government has introduced this as a national health programme.
I have come to love this solitude and communion with the natural world. My heart sings and my spirit dances with delight.