I've been almost grass free for a large part of my life. Born above my grandparents deli on Ridge Ave to a row home in Oxford Circle till I graduated college, had some money and moved to Society Hill Towers (often visited Washington Square), got married and when a baby was on the way, moved to Marlton NJ. Now have a nice size fenced-in yard and I supply the birds (and squirrels) with a lot of food. So my point is, at an old age, although I still walk a lot, one of my forms of meditation is to sip my morning tea and watch the birds, squirrels and chipmunks do their thing. My wife, who is now blind, finds comfort in picking weeds which she can't see. To each our own.

Expand full comment

I appreciate your article. One thing I'd point out is the most dangerous mammal is the human. To the best of my knowledge, the right to arm bears has never gotten past the courts, so trying to immerse yourself in nature within the city may be much more dangerous than the critters in the wild. I now live on 5 acres of Ponderosa Pine, at 7300 ft in Colorado. While I can't avoid the noise of the road out front, it's still relaxing to walk out toward the back of the property and just sit for awhile. Years ago, as an undergraduate, I took a 1-2 week camping vacation in the Texas Big Bend National Park. The Rangers knew me, and I was, after the first trip, exempt from their daily check-in requirements for back-country hiking. I'd generally forage, and can only recall one time when I didn't have sufficient water/food to stay out, and returned to the car for provisions. I rarely saw another human, and of those, mostly Rangers who respected my privacy. I'd go back to classes refreshed if somewhat tired, and ready to work again.

Expand full comment

When I had my first child, 35 years ago, my doctor actually wrote out a prescription for 1 hour a day for myself with no distractions. I made sure I followed that advice even after I delivered twins 2 years later. Best medical advice I’ve ever received.

As far as a solo walk in the woods, my greatest fear is encountering a creepy person who may harm me, which is why I arm myself with pepper spray. I am not sure men really have the same concerns.

I love your articles. Thank you.

Expand full comment

I'm naturally an observer, some might say a chicken, in that I typically spend an inordinate amount of time observing and absorbing my current environment before committing to any action. I can be spontaneous, but it's rare. I believe that this disposition has made me more attuned to and appreciative of the benefits of spending time with mother nature, though susceptible to run-on sentences.

I loved this piece and very much appreciate your writing. Thanks.

Expand full comment
May 30Liked by Ryan McCormick, M.D.

You might find it interesting.

Green and blue spaces and mental health: new evidence and perspectives for action | WHO


Prof. Chia-Pin YU's studies trying to connect the dots between human health and forest bathing Rx.


Certified Forest Therapist in Taiwan. It's pretty much like a therapist but in a forest setting instead of an armchair.


Expand full comment

My first reaction is that it makes complete sense that walking in the woods (or through a meadow or by the water) is beneficial to us. Small children nearly always want to be outside. However, it is always interesting, and exciting, to see our instinctive behavior affirmed by scientific observations.

Perhaps as we age and as our lives become more complicated it is necessary to "forest bathe" more consciously and deliberately. I appreciate the reminder and I love the idea of this being subscribed.

Expand full comment