Parker Memo

Mary Todd Daylily

Lost in Translation

One of the most challenging aspects of learning about a different culture is trying to understand the language. We’ve all heard about the fifty different words for snow used in the Alaskan Inuit language, but other countries also have various terms to describe the different types of snow the we English speakers bundle into one word. The Inuit name for falling snow is “Qunik.” The Swedish call heavy falling snow “Lappvante.” The Icelanders call fresh snow”Mijoll.” The biggest surprise for me was to learn the Scots have four hundred twenty-one words for snow! “Flindrikrin” means a light snow shower, and “Blin-drift” is their word for drifting snow. My point is, those word meanings and their shadings are interpreted differently according to our spoken language. Last week I leaned about Shinrin Yoku, Japanese words commonly translated into English as “Forest Bathing,” Shinrin meaning forest, and Yoku meaning bathing. Forest Bathing is experiencing the forest using your senses. In English forest means outdoors underneath trees, and bath implies something we do to wash. In my opinion, this is an inadequate translation. As an English-speaking person, when I think of the word bathing, I think of a soak, primarily alone, in a tub using soap and water. I try to be in the moment, but my bathroom is small, functional and well, I just want to get the dirt off. Showers are just so much quicker! The word bathing in Japanese has a very different meaning; it is communal and you are throughly clean before entering the bath. Water is kept hot, and the surroundings are contemplative. There are two kinds of Japanese bathing: Sento and Onsen. Sento is often an indoor public/private bath somewhat like what we would call a spa, and Onsen, Japanese for a natural hot spring water bath, is like going to Jemez Hot Springs or Ojo Client without the spa amenities. Immersing yourself in your surroundings and using all of your senses, awakening to the beauty around you is the goal of Japanese bathing, not getting the dirt off. In English I think a better literal interpretation of Forest Bathing would be, “outdoor sensory immersion.”

Whew! You might be asking yourself, what has all this to do with Parker’s Farm? It is my pleasure to tell you. A few weeks ago, the stars aligned, and I met Sally Anderson. Sally is the founder, director and lead teacher of the Sol Forest School for children, located in the East Mountains. To read more about her stellar background and her mission to help children understand the forest, please go to to learn more. She is also a certified Shinrin Yoku guide. Over tea, I was totally impressed by her background and her compassionate demeanor. Long story short, she asked me if she could guide groups of adults through the garden. In my hopes and dreams, I have wanted others to enjoy my garden the way I do, on my butt, totally aware and awake to what is going on around me, in an area of quiet and contemplation. Sally is an answer to those hopes and dreams. She asked me if she could use the garden to help others regenerate, comprehend the beauty of the sky and the flowers, attentively listen to the garden, and be in touch with the earth. To me, it is an awakening. It is a lesson on how to focus your senses, no matter where you are, not only in the forest but everywhere you go. Sally, with all her heart, wants to share those tools with you.

I am happy to announce her first sensory journey through the garden will be Sunday, July 11 10am to 12:30pm. To learn more about this walk, Second Sunday walks, or to arrange your own walk, please contact Sally by texting/calling 505-259-2133 or email Sally at: or The garden walks are not under my direction nor do I participate or arrange scheduling. Sally is your contact person for all other information regarding walks through the garden.,

I am excited for Sally, I’m excited to be sharing the garden in a way that compliments my purpose, and I am excited for you, who choose to participate.

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