Walking through a forest is a religious experience more profound than one found in a church. I've walked in the cathedrals of Sequoia in the Land Of The Giants, the oldest and tallest living organism on Earth, humbled in their majesty and offered selfless sacrifices in their name. I've hung with the Quercus (Oaks), hearing their wisdom whispered through their leaves, feeling the heat of their fires in my core. I've grazed the forests for food and shelter, nourished by its fruits and berries, mushrooms and herbs, fish, game, honey, and crystal, clear springs.
Embraced in the forests abundance, there we are connected with what is real, for most of what we encounter in life are machines and ideas constructed by humans. Humans, as it's been clearly documented, are prone to error. Nature self-regulates and has been trying out new ideas for eons. I trust nature more than I trust humans and the evidence for having such faith is all around us.
Our arrogance fools us into thinking we know more than nature does, but imagine a world where humans embrace nature and mimic her instead of competing with or trying to control her.
Would a civilization built on an infrastructure that was in tune with how nature works be sustainable? What would that even look like?
One of the keys to life is water and one of the best ways to recycle water is letting nature do it, something its been doing since water existed. We currently build wastewater treatment plants to chemically clean water for our needs. What if we designed cities to include forested swales to capture drainage water, filtering it for later use?
Trees, along with reed beds, clean and filter toxic chemicals from water making it drinkable while rendering the toxins insoluble and frozen in the cells of the trees. Nature knows what it's doing and we should follow her lead.
Planting fruits and vegetable along the swales would provide food abundance for the population, habitat for local fauna, and shelter from weather extremes. Economic activities would produce a variety of products made from the harvest.
We could solve any hunger crisis by planting fruiting trees in major cities, feeding everyone who lives there.
Strolling through the Huay Kaew Arboretum in Chiang Mai, Thailand I imagined saving the world one forest at a time and stood in amazement under new-to-me trees, basking in hungry curiosity for this novel biosphere. Most of the trees in these parts are hosts to a wide variety of orchids growing on their trunks. I'll have to come back when they bloom.
Chiang Mai has only a few parks where you can have a rest from the city’s hustle and bustle. There is, for example, Suan Buak Haad in the southwest corner of the old city or Kanchanpisek Park not far outside the square. But there is also the lesser known Huay Kaew Arboretum next to Chiang Mai Zoo.
Actually it is a nice place to get a tiny impression of Thailand’s huge range of exotic trees and hide under their protective shades. That’s why this location was quite popular in the past. Even now local people like to go there especially in the mornings or evenings, mostly to get in a bit of exercise. source
Huay Kaew Arboretum
Huay Kaew Road next to Chiang Mai Zoo and University
Open daily 8am – 7pm
No entry fee
The arboretum in Chiang Mai is a sanctuary from the bustling city and a place you'll find people doing yoga, playing with their children, and chilling out in the quiet, shaded oasis. Walking deeper onto its paths one can feel the air around you change polarity and your mood quickly adjusts to its surroundings.
Forests are my familiar friends and these new cousins on the other side of the globe seemed to sense my presence as I walked by them. Raised in the forests of northern California, I feel at home around trees and introduced myself to these new species, letting them know I'm good friends with their kin. I didn't want anything from them but to take pictures which they graciously were willing to pose for.
The moss-covered paths winding through the the trees led to several pavilions where people were resting and a small nursery filled with orchid cuttings.
Around almost every corner was a beautiful green space to hang out in like this one.
What is it about us that attracts us to green living spaces? Some deep connection in our primal being, weened but still dependent, never fully cutting our umbilical cord from the forces of nature we are all still one with. Even astronauts exploring new galaxies still feel the need to grow food, as much for nourishment as to feel a part home.
Green spaces replenish and center us bringing us back to equilibrium, ready to face the challenges of the world once again. They're powerful places for the human spirit and we should build more of them in our cities.
Seeing a sample of trees from these mountains peaked my curiosity to know more about the surrounding forests and the wildlife that lives in it. I will explore them but for now I'm happy to just sit in these tranquil green areas in this beautiful park.
Slipping my shoes off, as is the custom in Thailand when entering a building, I walked into the small museum to see a display of the different kinds of woods used from these forests. Inside was a handcrafted table of impeccable quality and upon it were glass jars filled with orchid seed pod growing in the humidity.
The were some terrariums containing huge beetles and others with what I assumed to be its larva. The information written about it was in Thai so I couldn't read it and there was no one to interpret it, but I got the sense these beetles were an important part of the life cycle of the trees. Made a note to myself to look into this further.
Thanks for reading my post and I hope you'll join me on my adventures in Thailand where I'll be exploring the country and experiencing the culture. If you have any suggestions of places to see and things to do please let me know in the comments below.