Read the associated blog: Dating with Plants.
BOOK IN THE MAKING – WITH SHORT LIFE STORIES
It is 2021. I am 32 years old and I have always been single … in the eyes of my parents. I never introduced someone as my significant other to them. They knew about some of my romances, though. As in the life of every single woman, there are friends who analyze why I have never had a long relationship. The biggest denominator of their theories is that I am unrooted. I do not settle. And it is true. I have lived in different places around the world. I am – as Sharon Blackie would call it- a serial rooter.
Carl Jung said that the core of each life’s journey is one question we are born to pursue. My big question is one word, but it envelops many specific questions. It is: Home?
Where is home? How to feel at home? What is homecoming? How to improve my home?
These questions can be aligned with questions that we find in many cosmologies: Where do we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? The first and the third questions are related to home. In earlier times, when most humans were peasants, the answers to the first and second questions would be the same. Where you are born is probably also the place where you will lay your bones. In these times, it is the place where you are born, the place where you root and stay rooted. The middle question can also be indirectly connected with what home is. Often, when you ask people what home means to them, they refer to people that let them feel home, or a life mission or questions that give them meaning, let them feel home the whole time, regardless of where they are. Home is for some people a place, for others a feeling, for most both.
In the past, people were born wherever they grew up. Being born then meant rooting. Between man ‘and the earth that saw him come into the world’, an almost corporeal bond had grown. There was not only a relationship between the individual and the community, but also a relationship on an even deeper level between the individual and the ancestral soil, the region from which one came. Now, most people are not born at home and do not live their whole life in the same place.
When you live in different places, like me, you are perhaps more in a transition period than your friends. Transitions and periods of change invite loneliness, because change makes us conscious of the loss or absence of meaningful connections. I often felt homesick, lonely.
When I heard about forest therapy in Japan, I was directly interested. I got the idea that this practice might give me the tools to cope with loneliness. Forest therapy – or forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku- is a nature-based wellbeing practice where a guide gives you prompts inviting you to sharpen your senses, in order to get more of the relationships of nature around and in you. I became a forest therapy guide and in my 6-month training, I started to have first dates with plants, and, started to see previous encounters with plants before, in any place where I lived, differently. I started to notice and acknowledge how much they helped and taught me.
I was actually never single… in the eyes of nature.
Practical: On the website https://www.story.one/ – I write short stories (of maximum 2500 characters) about my dates with plants and what wisdom they gave me. You can read the short stories for free here. The goal is to launch a publication of the best 12-14 plant stories, based on the number of likes and comments I get. So please visit the website and like the stories (and plants) that speak to you:
- Meeting a juniper in a Scottish winterstorm
- Grounding with golden ginkgoes in Japan
- Fireweed in Norwegian wastescapes
- Nettles in Belgium testing my perseverance
- Indoor cleaning plants
More coming soon! (update: October 2021)