WELLS, Maine — Many Outside Edge episodes feature adventures moving from place to place, but this week's episode takes a step back into stillness and appreciation of some of the places these activities take place at.
The Wells Reserve at Laudholm is over 2,000 acres with a history of saltwater farming up until the 60s when the farm was in disrepair.
"A group of really concerned citizens came together and saved this place from becoming a development," Education Director Suzanne Kahn explained. "The National Estuarian Research Reserve System happened to be looking for a reserve location in Maine and everything came together fortuitously at the same time."
Kahn said the reserve strives to offer programming for all ages, all times of the day, and in different seasons. The warm-season excursions include kayaking, guided tours, art displays, and more.
"All of our programs aren’t necessarily science even though we’re a science organization," Kahn said. "Some of them are more wellness, connect with nature type programs. More and more, people are looking for places where they can have more of a slower, reflective experience."
The "Mindful Experience" with Linda Littlefield Grenfell was listed as a program in early June.
"I call the 'Mindful Experience' forest bathing light; I’ve been doing it since before forest bathing became a little more familiar for the culture," Grenfell said.
The sessions typically last an hour and a half to two hours and are accessible for all.
"All my work is a way of connecting with what I call the real world, if we connect with it then we will know it and love it and when we love nature, then maybe we’ll take care of it," Grenfell explained.
The session begins with some basic awareness skills; deep breathing, slow walking, and finding wide-angle vision. It eventually becomes its own form of meditation.
"When we slow down and get to know the community around us, the trees, plants, the birds, and the mammals and all of it, then we’ll be more respectful and much more connecting with it, and some surprises may that, that when we really slow down outside, we may hear messages," Grenfell said.
Though there are some skeptics of this deep dive into light forest bathing.
"I often say, 'It sounds like woo woo new age stuff,' and I’m the first skeptic who says that’s ridiculous. And then these things happen that are so profound," Grenfell said.
Grenfell is grateful to share this reflective experience with visitors and locals at the reserve.
"It means I get to fulfill my passion, the purpose of my life is really connecting myself and others with the real world, helping people fall in love with it. There isn’t a day I don’t give thanks that I get to come here and spend time here," Grenfell added.
The next "Mindful Experience" is scheduled for mid-August. Be sure to check the schedule here.