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My Amphibian Teacher


I was recently in Southern Oregon attending an in-person Forest Therapy training when I encountered an unlikely teacher.


It was hot in the hills outside of Ashland.  The kind of hot that is unique to those places which receive rain in the winter… but then not again for 8 months.  I feel a low hum of longing.  The relentless sun almost mocking the memory of moisture, vast brilliance of the blue skies drone ever onward without the punctuation of clouds.  The once verdant grasses now crunching under foot as I seek shade next to the creek.


Unable to resist the siren song of the water, I submerge myself.  Sweat from my skin now dissolves in the water, the anxiety of heat / heat of anxiety neutralizes and washes away downstream.  I'm left with the small birds who dive and swoop, the rocks and trees who create glimmers and shadows and a small frog who just rests and watches.


And so we rest and watch together.  And as we co-exist, a sense of harmony settles not just upon me but in me.  Seeps in.  The relentless passage of water around my body seemed to widen my pores just a nanometre eliciting a sensation of water rushing through my body.

Frogs don't just wear their skin, they drink and breathe through it, too! Like a giant lung, the thin, moist skin allows gases to pass through, helping the frog to breathe.

--The American Museum of Natural History "Thin Skin" Part of the Frogs: A Chorus of Colors exhibition.

How do I wear my skin?

What I realised in this moment, as the creek rushed around (through?) my skin, as the frogs body breathed like one giant lung next to me, is that permeability is a super-power. Thick skin may protect but it can also suffocate. Walls provide an element of safety but they impede expansion.

And so creek flows. And so I sit. And breathe, with my amphibian teacher.

I always love to hear from you, so please write me if you have any questions or would like to share about a More Than Human Teacher you have encountered. 

Next Forest Bathing is Sunday June 23rd 2024 at 11am in Occidental... all upcoming walks are available by clicking the button below. See you on the trail!


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