“This place was just too nice,” was what some other voice was first saying, on the first afternoon, ventriloquizing inside my own vaudeville production, claiming some mistaken moral authority and painting the architecture and landscaping with a critique of false appropriation.
But on the second afternoon of this long workshop weekend the woman, in the chase lounge behind me, commented on how she’d noticed that it looked as if I was actually practicing the art of forest bathing, just standing there looking for a while. She said that she thought perhaps she should actually do that too. If she saw that, then perhaps I’d drawn the curtain on this contrition and guilt I kept feeling, and that I’d perhaps acquiesced enough to actually just look, and not feel quite so much like I was, at that moment, unworthy of having such a nice experience.
And by the third afternoon, as I walked away, I realized the purpose wasn’t the architecture or the aesthetics, it was the people. And it wasn’t about how we dressed or silently presented ourselves which might convince me any of us was the right or wrong kind of person to be creative. The words we spoke and wrote to one another were a different kind of bathing entirely. They were too nice.