I have been reading about 19th century Provence lately (The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles, by Martin Gayford). How simple it is to live like a monk – the kind who paints in the fields, drinks absinthe, and goes to the brothel twice a week, than cope with the constant barrage of sights and sounds – TV, cell phones, fire engines, tires, and brilliant billboards. All these modern stimuli capture our attention in a non-reflective way, and leads to what psychologists call “Directed Attention Fatigue” that results in chronically fragile concentration, heightened irritability, and poor decisions. The most effective way to restore our attention is to stimulate the mind in an effortless, and contemplative way – the kind bestowed by Mother Nature. What has been known to man for centuries, is now being quantified by science – there is no better elixir for the mind, than good old Mother Nature.
In Tales from Urban Forests, Jean Snedegar explores the power of trees to restore us – body and mind. So, bury the phone, drop the remote, and step out into the park.