November is traditionally an excellent time to reflect on appreciation and gratitude. We tend to think about this in terms of our families and friends, the important relationships in our lives. This November, on top of appreciating family and friends, we are also turning our gaze towards the natural environment and appreciating all that it has to offer. For humans, forests and trees are nothing short of a lifeline. But in addition to nature’s practical function for our bodies, it can do so much for our spirits and wellbeing if we can just find some more ways to incorporate it into our lives and even better, if we can find ways to give back in return.
In Japan, the appreciation of what nature has to offer in every season is built into the culture. Many Japanese artistic works historically have to do with the magic of nature. Japanese people annually celebrate the seasons with traditional customs such as the cherry blossom and plum festivals. While Japan is a small country relatively low in natural resources, Japan’s forest areas have been outstandingly maintained and explored. People take advantage of the beautiful mountains and forests that they have access to by visiting and keenly respecting these sacred spaces. So find something new this November to celebrate, appreciate, and maybe even give back to in the natural environment that sustains us!