Please read this...Pondering mistakes, forest bathing


Folks of a certain age may recognize the first three words in this week's colyum.

Those three words made up a banner headline which appeared in an early edition of the November 3, 1948, issue of the Chicago Daily Tribune newspaper.

Dewey and Truman were the candidates for the president of the United States in the election that year. Based on that headline, Dewey won the election and Truman didn't get a chance to give 'em hell.

Well, Dewey didn't actually win the election. Truman did. (But you knew that, right?) And the headline became a classic example of a blunder.

That headline came to mind while I was pondering a couple of blunders yours truly made during the past couple of weeks in this publication.

For two weeks in a row, I compiled news items which ran the wrong dates for a couple of upcoming events. Got in a hurry, didn't pay attention, and there they were, just kind of festering and hanging around.

Fortunately, the folks involved with the events were gentle in their comments when they contacted The Paragraph Factory to point out the gaffes. That is not always the case.

I've dwelled on this matter a number of times over the years. I don't like making mistakes, and I especially don't like it when those errors end up in the paper. In the most recent cases, the mistakes just caused unnecessary confusion. Life is complicated enough, and folks don't need more goofy things to deal with.

Thankfully, my mistakes weren't quite as significant as "Dewey Defeats Truman." And, as one caller was kind enough to point out, in a gentle sort of way, the errors may just be another sign that yours truly is not getting any younger...

...which brings me to the next exciting topic for this week...

...while reading through the Friday, March 3, issue of USA TODAY (which, by the way, arrived on Saturday, March 4, and that's another story entirely), I ran across an article with a headline which declared: "Forest bathing sees growth."

Turns out that I've been "forest bathing" for a number of years, and didn't even know it. Forest bathing, it seems, has been popular for many years in Japan, where it's called "shinrin-yoku."

The article shared some thoughts from a fellow in Los Angeles who explained the difference between a plain, old hike in the woods and forest bathing out there with the squirrels, crows and possums.

The fellow in LA explained that a "hike is generally oriented as a journey from point A to point B, whereas forest bathing is not about reaching a physical destination. The destination in a forest-bathing walk is more like a mental space of effortless relaxation and awareness."

If you read this space regularly, you probably are aware that yours truly likes to visit the Trail of Tears State Forest on a regular basis, although I don't usually take a bath towel with me. And when I go to the state forest, I really don't have plans about going from point A to point B.

I've often told The Other Half that my visits were good for my mental health. So, I guess I've shinrin-yokuing all along, which, I guess, makes me trendy. (The article in USA TODAY did mention that shinrin-yoku is "more than a trendy buzzword for hiking.")

Quite honestly, being trendy would be something special, because we are not trendy folks. I think the last time we may have been even slightly trendy was sometime in 1981.

Lately, I've also been picnic grounds bathing, too. I do not know the Japanese words for picnic grounds bathing. Let me just say that I've been making regular stops at the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro as part of a year-long "project" which I hope to complete. If all goes well, you'll get to see the end results in December. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I can't honestly tell you when I'll be shinrin-yokuing again. I do hope it happens before I make another round of mistakes that appear in the paper.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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