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Forest Bathing!


Or, what happens when, within three weeks, you finish reading a biography about Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Vonn's memoir, and To Speak for the Trees, a memoir by a woman you turned me on to, Sally, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, keeper of Druidic traditions, scientist and eco warrior.


All three are goddesses, one of rock, one of skiing and one of science.


So, Stevie inspires me to be creative. She used really a lot of drugs. I was like, whoa, Stevie, really? She also loved a talented guy who was emotionally abusive and sometimes physically abusive. And even though she broke up with him pretty early on, they were artistic partners for a longer time. So it was a long time before she was entirely free of him. Anyway, I felt better about my marriage and staying in it far too long after reading about that. It is hard to break up!


Though it all, drugs, her own band's failure to recognize how important she was to their success, she just kept on creating.


And of course, there's always Rhiannon, the Welsh witch and Stevie is Welsh, and I'm Welsh! And she just does not quit. Will not quit.


Okay, on to Lindsey. I listened to her memoir while driving up to see Eliana, who lives ten hours north of me in Whitefish, Montana. I swear, after a certain point, my own knees started to hurt after hearing descriptions of her crashes and knee injuries. So here is what is great about Lindsey. She is talented, yeah, but she, too, just will not quit. Even when facing doubt (yup, doubt, it was mostly off the slope but some of it was about skiing, especially early on) and depression. She writes a lot about depression. And that really resonated with me, partly because I can get depressed and I certainly get a lot of anxiety that can then cause depression, but also because I was basically married to depression. He fought it early on, but in the end, embraced it.


Not Lindsey. Oh yeah, she lived with it for a while but then she took the bull by the horns and fought it. She is still working on it, but, frankly, depression did not have a chance against her determination.


And she's had her heart broken a lot. She's no Taylor Swift, she doesn't name names, but her breakups were hard for her to get over. She said she'd take knee injuries over the pain of a breakup.


Personally, after listening to the description of her knee injuries, I might go for the breakups.


More importantly, I am so fucking sick of still getting over my breakup. I am like, get this out of my head! And I am! But it's good to know that even someone like Lindsey has trouble getting over breakups, too.


But she also inspired me because when she was coming back from injuries, she kept working out all of the parts of her body that weren't injured! And I am really struggling with hip flexors and I'm like, I'm doing the Lindsey route. I can't really run, but I can power walk, and do everything I can to built up the right muscles.


And when finally she recognized that her body couldn't take it anymore and she had to retired from ski racing, she dealt with the depression, with the existential challenge of leaving the sport that had defined her and her life since she was eight or nine, well. She moved on. She discovered, she proved to herself, that there is way more, way, way to her than ski champion. If that ain't a lesson for me to embrace, I don't know what is.


And then there is Diana Beresford-Kroeger, unloved daughter of a beautiful but cold and uncaring mother, orphaned first when her father dies and then her mother. She becomes ward of the courts in Cork, Ireland. Which appoints a lawyer who loses all the money her father left her. And she ends up spending summers being raised by aunts, uncles and the broader network of family in Lisheen , Ireland, storing up all of the ancient traditions they can pour into her, traditional medical treatments, history and the power of women. During the school year, she gets educated by the nuns, who, miraculously, recognize her brilliance and nurture it. She goes on to become a scientist who proves all those ancient remedies work. Wise people tested them and observed them for centuries. And they work!


Of particular interest to me was something that makes chemotherapy super efficient, meaning patients need less of it to kill their cancer. Which also means the patients themselves are less debilitated by the chemo, which makes them stronger and able to heal. Now I only had low-dose chemo so I never felt any side effects. But, still!


And she has and is running campaigns that can slow climate change and buy us time to save a world that she clearly worships. Trees are a major part of it. Trees are pretty amazing. And she also describes how closely intertwined we all are. Not just people, but tree and us! Trees produce the oxygen that enabled humans to come into being. Without trees, no oxygen. No oxygen, no us.


Something inside me was pushing me to trees and earth 'way last fall when I was still in Houston. And now, having read her book, I understand it better. Judy, you'll understand it more, you and I emailed back and forth about that. It's fascinating.


And I'm doing it as much as possible to put me in with the trees now, hiking, biking, power walking in the trees that are just outside my door! Forest bathing, it's called. There's all sorts of powerful stuff trees exude that you inhale.


And different as the three of them are, they are all women who Just. Will. Not. Quit. So when sometimes I feel like quitting, for all sorts of reasons, Roe v. Wade going down (look, no surprise there, not only because of the political climate but also because it is a flawed ruling, thank you Sally!), two Democrats running against each other back in Wisconsin's Third Congressional District, which we cannot afford to lose, anxiety over Eliana and Gav, anxiety that can percolate down into depression, the occasional cold finger of fear about my own health, which is fine, I'm just like fuck that shit!


So this photo is of me forest bathing, during a hike that's part of my training!


Kinda nutty, yeah, I know. But it's working for me!


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