The past week working at our desk, we listened to soundscapes of forests in Malaysia, Estonia, Portugal, China and France… We’d click through lush images of forests at tree.fm until we chose one we wanted to visit and found ourselves transported into tranquil environments of rustling leaves and birdsong.

Santa Cruz, California ; tree.fm

We felt like we were forest bathing.

Because the interface is so simple and the recordings so vivid, we enjoyed an easy, seamless virtual experience of the natural world, helpful in this claustral time. Each forest page has only two links: Next Forest Please and Plant Some Trees.

Tree.fm has partnered with Ecosia, a search engine that uses profits from searches to plant trees where they are needed around the world. In a few moments, we had bought 10 “trees to fight hunger” as a gift to a friend. We received a gift card to email or print and send to our friend.

Our friend said it is one of the best gifts she received this holiday season. The activist aspect — being able to actually facilitate the planting of trees— deepened the experience mightily. (It makes for a wonderfully meaningful “shopping” break” when working…)

Listening to the forests, we were reminded of Neruda’s great poem Lost in the Forest, as we were, briefly…

Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.

Something from far off it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.

Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind

as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood—-
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.

With thanks to Cara De Silva for the poke.

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