Get outside and worship in the Tree Church.

Church_front_thru_trees_resize-960x600In the past two weeks, I have gone mountain biking at Sugarloaf, hiked Bradbury Mountain, swam in three rivers and one pond, tried stand-up paddleboard yoga for the very first time, went bouldering and fell on my butt, and climbed up a slippery waterfall. I’m proud of this fact, even though it means I’ve been neglecting my blog and my books and my work. But the easiest way to recalibrate my inner system—to reset my mental state to neutral, to flip the switch from madness to sanity, to stop the centipede from whirling around my skull—is to go outside.

I won’t get weird and preachy here, but I don’t know how to say this without sounding a little too earnest. So I’ll just go ahead and keep it short: I need green things. Nature makes me whole and balanced and good. It’s my jam (friluftsliv FTW).

Tree-Church_web_front_full-colourSo naturally I fell in love with this outdoor church in New Zealand made almost entirely from living things. “After traveling the world and being a keen observer of Churches, Barry Cox decided to construct a unique Church of his own using living trees,” reads the website. Construction started in April, 2011 and now the church and garden grounds are open to visitors. You can also book it for weddings. How nice would that be?

Sadly, it’s too expensive for my nuptials (not to mention halfway around the world). But what a great idea! It reminds me of earthwork artist Olafur Eliasson’s piece at Bard, the Parliament of Reality. It’s an art installation that also functions as an outdoor gathering space, and I used to visit it often when I was in school. It’s been years; I wonder what it looks like now…

See more about the tree church here and here.

Things that make me happy: Japanese string gardens, Dylan Thomas & a song for Spring.

hanging string gardens japan1. In Tokyo, the “experience designers” at teamLab have created a beautiful, kinetic hanging garden made with a form of bonsai called Kokedama. Tied with string and bound with moss, the plants are able to grow mid-air, roots burrowing into little contained bundles of dirt. And because art and science are just natural bedfellows: This floating field is also mechanized to move with your body, parting the way for views to walk amongst the blossoms unhindered. What a lovely, happy thing to create. It reminds me of another untranslatable word I’ve been digging: Shinrin-yokuTranslated literally it means forest-bathing, but it’s often used to refer to a short, rejuvenating walk in the woods. Nice, right?

2. One of my all-time favorite poems is “Fern Hill” by Dylan Thomas. Just go read it to see why. This is one of those poems where all the parts are the best part, but here is a sample:

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
     The night above the dingle starry,
          Time let me hail and climb
     Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
          Trail with daisies and barley
     Down the rivers of the windfall light.

3. A perfect song for warmer weather!