HCOF Creativity Prompt: Hug a Tree

May 21, 2020

Our Holland Community Opera Fellowship (HCOF) is committed to being a creative and artistic resource to our community. Usually this takes many forms and Opera Omaha's HCOF Fellows (Gwenna, Jared, Kate, and Kaitlin) lead creative workshops and programming for all ages. Since we can’t be in the community in person, we’ve adapted and created a few of our #HCOFCreativityPrompts for your use at home. Each weekday we’ll post a different prompt on our blog and share on our social media platforms. These activities can be done alone or with others. Creativity is not just for kids, and these prompts are written for a wide variety of audiences so feel free to modify as needed!

Hug a Tree

In honor of 50th anniversary of earth day and the joy of a hug, try hugging a tree.

Time to complete
Up to 5 minutes

A tree or other plant (avoid cacti). Paper and Pencil (Optional).

There really couldn’t be a better time to take the opportunity to reflect our personal relationship with nature. Not only do recent studies show that being in nature is good for your physical health, it is also a great source of artistic and creative inspiration!

For this activity you’re going to find a tree or another plant and hug it! As you head outside, or around your house, to find a plant to embrace take a second to think about these lines from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, Nature,

The tempered light of the woods is like a perpetual morning and is stimulating and heroic. The ancient lay reported spells of these places creep on us. The stems of pines, hemlocks, and oaks, almost gleam like iron on the excited eye. The incommunicable trees begin to persuade us to live with them and quit our life of solemn trifles. Here no history, or church, or state, is interpolated on the divine sky and the immortal year.

It’s no wonder that “forest bathing” is currently so popular!

Once you find the perfect plant to hug, wrap your arms around it and hold on tight! Let the feeling flow up from your toes, then up your legs, into your chest, and then flood your head. Close your eyes and lean into the bark and feel its roughness, breathe in the smells of wood and earth.

In a recent article from the Iceland Review, forest ranger Pór Porfinnsson recommends taking your time
while hugging trees. He says, Five minutes is really good, if you can give yourself five minutes of your day to hug [a tree], that’s
definitely enough. You can also do it many times a day—that wouldn’t hurt. But once a day will definitely do the trick, even for just a few days.

Take a minute or two to write down your thoughts about what it felt like to hug a tree and reflect on them.

For more information on this topic:
Health benefits of being in nature
Forest bathing
Hug a tree

Sharing Suggestions
Ask a friend or family member to participate in this activity with you! Share your experience with them
and dialogue about the answers to your questions.Comment on this activity’s Facebook post or tag @OperaOmaha in an Instagram Story with #hcofcreativityprompts.


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