A Rain Forest


You’ve had a bad day, things just aren’t going the way you imagined, and you’re ready to throw in the towel. Your thoughts are flying all over the place; anger disappointment, sadness, frustration, and you decide to take a walk in the forest, clear your head, and it’s raining.

This was me yesterday.

Our Swedish forests are special; mostly furs and pine, a few deciduous trees; birch, aspen, book and sometimes majestic oaks, and lots of moss, all kinds of moss, all colors of green, and then there’s the mushrooms, the blueberries and the lingonberries, and this year they were abundant, carpeting the forest floor.

Kathrin and I spend Sunday and Monday on the island where we live, the other five days are at Open World Café, and we cherish our walks in the forest, even when it’s raining. Walking in the forest is like meditating, you feel differently about whatever you’ve been thinking before. It’s a blessing.

The moss is sometimes so thick you sink in and it’s like walking on a super luxurious carpet, a soft carpet on the forest floor welcoming you. The silence is highlighted by the birds, sending signals that someone is in their space. Small trails line the ground, going under trees too low for humans to pass, here and there roughed-up moss and droppings. We have elk, deer, fox, hare, squirrels, and even the occasional lynx, which is only seen very rarely. A century ago people were scared of walking in the forests here on the island because of the big bear families calling the island their home.

Forests are very special.

Kathrin once stopped in the forest and looked up and said: “imagine if we could talk to trees?”, I thought about it and answered: “I think we are talking to trees, just not with words.” Trees just make me feel good, I like the company of trees, I like the wisdom of trees.

Selective destruction

It’s different when the forest has been cut down, although clear-cutting is very rare. It’s different, and very sad. In Sweden today there is less than 0.5%, that’s less than one half of a percent, of the total surface of Sweden, which is 450,000 square kilometres, which is considered “ancient” forest, and those 0.5% forests are then at most about three hundred years old.

Our Environmental Minister, Andreas Carlgren, has highlighted the urgent need for biodiversity to counter the destructive effects of the Climate Crisis.

What have we lost? We shall never know.


About christersoderberg

Living and growing up in nine countries has left strong impressions on the background of Christer Söderberg, helping to create an awareness of the impermanence in life and the uncertain value of knowledge; illustrating the paradox between knowing and what we may do well to “unlearn”. Christer has worked with companies in six countries on four continents, most recently in Brazil where between 1998 and 2002 he started a subsidiary for a Swedish Multinational. Studies in business and a lifetime of social entrepreneurship have further cemented his belief that the only thing we can change is ourselves. This lifelong endeavor expresses itself in creating the conditions for change through places, physical and virtual spaces where the individual can feel safe in him/herself; at least enough to stop, reflect and listen to the world we live in. We exist in our relationship to each other, our environment, and ourselves. Through observation and silence, preferably in close communion with nature, a “zero perspective” can help stimulate the questions surrounding our purpose and a meaningful contribution while on earth. Increased awareness of individual potential plants seeds for long-term success; Open World initiatives help awaken the hidden potential in individuals, creating new perspectives on cooperation and personal development. Increased focus and balance help provide a strong base for individual and business growth, with a deeply ingrained sense of responsibility, respect and awe for the power in nature.
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