Fresh Start

Fresh Start, by Joseph Liberti
After yesterday’s rain, thistles proudly wear fresh color to celebrate a new day

I love to hike and do every morning at dawn. For many years I hiked with my beloved best canine friend Eddie. Together we hiked almost 12000 miles. Recently after a year-long bout with a brain tumor, Eddie passed over the rainbow bridge. I made a fresh start. I turned to forest bathing and photography to help me past my grief.

In my project to master point and shoot photography, each day I take hundreds photos of nature. Some are great and some just OK but all have a story.

Last night we had a nourishing rain and when I got out for my hike I saw that all the plants and trees had perked up and were wearing droplets of water. The thistles, which had been fading in the summer heat, looked fresh and perky as they made a fresh start on a new day.

To me the thistle transformation symbolized the fresh start I am making with performing music in a new way, learning photography and my life without Eddie. I felt inspired. Maybe it will provide you a pick-me-up too. Remember, you are only a breath and a choice away from a new day and a new experience of life.

Be well and happy,

Joseph

Forest Bathing Plus Photography Heals Grief

How Forest Bathing plus photography is healing my grief.

Forest Bathing in green trees and lush mountain sides. Photo by Joseph Liberti
South Valley by Joseph Liberti

I found a way to heal my grief through Forest Bathing and photography.

What’s Forest Bathing? In 1982, the Forest Agency of the Japanese government premiered its shinrin-yoku plan. In Japanese shinrin means forest, and yoku, although it has several meanings, refers here to a “bathing, showering or basking in.” More broadly, it is defined as “taking in, through all of our senses, the forest atmosphere.” This “nature therapy” program was established to encourage the populace to get out into nature, to literally bathe the mind and body in greenspace to reduce stress find peace and improve health.

A Daily Hiker
I have been a nature lover and daily hiker since I was a child, I had experienced the power of nature to calm and restore me, but after the recent death of my canine companion and best friend Eddie, it wasn’t working for me any more. Eddie and had I hiked daily for nearly twelve years and when I resumed my daily hiking after Eddie crossed the rainbow bridge, every tree and rock and meadow reminded me of him and brought intense grief.

Click Click To Find Peace
I decided to use my hiking time to photograph the nature I loved To deal with my grief . I read a book on how to create artful nature photography with a point and shoot camera and started snapping photos. As I learned more, I took more time with composition and started to see every detail in a new way. Things that had been triggering grief now brought curiosity, appreciation and reverence. The process of trying to create landscape art kept me focused on natural beauty and prevented me from obsessing on my loss.

Healing And New Beginnings
What is true is I will never forget my Eddie. He is always with me on every hike. We are just enjoying it in a new way. I heal a little with every day. and every click. My photography is improving daily and I have garnered some fans of my work, and soon some of my work will be on display for sale. I will continue to publish photos of my “green art” in this blog. Please do return and see some. I have thousands.

Be well and happy,
Joseph

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