A Magic Walk in the Forest
Yesterday I had a magic walk in the forest. It was one of those perfect moments that came unexpectedly and left me with a profound impression. At the invitation of a mutual friend, I visited a small forest in the mountains of “El Retiro” in Antioquia. This cloud forest is located in the central mountain range of Colombia, at 1800 meters above sea level. Cloud forests are unique ecosystems, as there are few on our planet. They occur when the clouds wrap around the mountains, and moisture is deposited as tiny droplets on plants. These forests conserve humidity like a natural greenhouse, where water is constantly recycled and contains unique flora and fauna.
My new friend Catalina had a surprise for us: As she explained, we would experience walking barefoot in the forest. At first, it startled me; it is unusual for someone to ask you to take off your shoes when entering a forest, but if we want to live this experience fully, we must be in close contact with the wet soil, the trees, the water and the sounds of the forest.
We descended a narrow path surrounded by trees and giant ferns; we walked in the mud and into small cold-water streams crisscrossing the trail. I must admit that it was a long time since I had walked barefoot in the ground, it had been raining for many days in a row, and the soil was soft and tacky. When I started stepping, I felt the cold mud sliding between my toes, the tiny stones pressing the soles of my feet, and the grass and moss tingling as I stood on them.
I walked carefully, trying to find the best place to set my feet. This feeling of insecurity passed quickly. Once I was inside the forest, the beauty of the place overwhelmed me, and I felt the pleasure of being there, and I got carried to when I was a little girl. At that time, this was natural to me. I did not mind being covered in mud or having wet clothes, but shoes changed me and inhibited me from enjoying these small and beautiful pleasures.