This is not a proper life style piece – I’m not usually that helpful!
It appears that I have something in common with Prince Charles, no I don’t fancy Camilla Parker Bowles, and no my ears are relatively normal sized; but like His Royal Highness – every so often I like to hug a tree. This is quite a new thing for me – like only months old. Since moving to Devon, I have in fact been surrounded by trees for years, but it’s only now that I want to … get involved – shall we say!
In the media, we can’t move for articles written about that trendy zeitgeisty gig Mindfulness! Have you got the app, been to a class, bought the self help book? It’s all good I say, but hugging a tree is an underappreciated kind of moment in the present, all of its very own. Unfortunately, there’s no app and I feel that this leaves a big gap in the market. Perhaps something similar to Tinder would be good here – Timber – an app listing local trees that are available for cuddling. Just make sure you swipe thoughtfully.
The actual machinations of embracing a tree.
There are some instances when hugging a tree seems tricky, even off-putting, let’s talk about that:-
- When there are too many bastard stingers at the bottom of the tree.
- When there are lots of cobwebs and you don’t want that creepy fuzzy stuff on your face – yeeeesh.
- When there are too many low lying branches and you’ve left your trusty machete/swiss pen knife/chainsaw in your other handbag. It’s the wrong tree, pick another one.
- When there’s a particularly arsy squirrel pelting you with his nuts!
- When there’s a high probability of cheek and chin chafing – always a consideration but exacerbated particularly by chunky bark – perhaps opt for a smoother trunk such as a Silver Birch.
- When the circumference of the tree is just too chunky to wrap your arms around. So frustrating, pick a slimmer tree.
- When there’s dog/fox/squirrel poo at the base of the tree, no one wants to scrape that out of their tread with an old toothbrush. No one.
- When there are (trip hazard) exposed roots which may result in faceplanting directly into the tree before a hug can be performed.
Many of you reading will say: well I haven’t got the time, when can I possibly fit in tree hugging?
Good question! Let’s talk about that:-
How about on that run you do on a Saturday morning, or on the walk into work? Why not think about wrapping your arms around a tree with your toddler at the park? Have you considered a cheeky fumble with a sturdy trunk when you’re out with the dog(s)? I personally favour a nice tall fir tree, which I pass on my run that I affectionately call Douglas! Actually, if a physical embrace is too much for you, scientists say that just being amongst trees, and touching their bark can have beneficial health effects (unless you’re allergic in which case it might bring on a particularly unpleasant rash). Appaz it’s to do with the vibrations trees give off, after all, they are mighty living, oxygen-giving heroes. I like to think that The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations is actually all about trees and not about a surfer in her frayed Daisy Dukes! Sigh.
Some of you (who are still reading) may think what is the puh-oint slash other health benefits of tree hugging?
Good question! Let’s talk about that:-
- Experts (that’s not me then) say that hugging (after approx 20 seconds) can release endorphins in our brains, thus flooding our systems with homemade opiates. Homemade is always best right!
- Trees, since the dawn of time, have stood for reliability and strength, and are therefore sending a positive subliminal message. The strong and mighty oak! The towering pine! Even saplings speak of new hope and youthfulness!
- Embracing a tree allows you a moment or two to concentrate on your breathing (Tic Tacs are optional).
- You are with nature, by nature, in nature, on nature. Totally naturey right?
- When you hug a tree, if you haven’t chafed your ear and cheek, you will hear things, both inside and outside of the tree. Listen…….
- Trees are great listeners themselves and are never judgy.
- The trees might actually like it too (no scientific research yet to back this up. At all).
- A form of Mindfulness that is as cheap as wood chips!
Tree hugging does not require a mobile phone/device/Fitbit but it does require a little of your time and a tree. Ok, it’s not without its hazards but executed correctly it can leave you feeling all the inner naturey peace. Think of it as a little treet in your day.
As you were!
If you like to hug or commune with trees then I want to know about it x