SEP Exclusive Plant: 'Maple' — A Mindfulness Experience Among Maple Trees
In areas with changing seasons, maple trees are known as symbols of fall. The layers of leaves turning orange and red contribute to the unique romance of this season. But don't just stop at enjoying the beautiful changing maple leaves. We suggest adding a touch of mindfulness to the experience – really savoring the present moment. Let the wonders of nature engage all your senses. Take in the sights, sounds, scents, flavors, and textures. Immerse yourself fully in the appeal of maple trees through a variety of sensory encounters!
[Guide to Reading This Article]
- Start by deciding the order in which you'd like to explore your "five senses." For instance: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
- Once you have your sequence, navigate to the corresponding sections below for each sense. Immerse yourself in the mindfulness exercises provided to truly embrace the unique beauty of maple trees through different sensory dimensions.
Hearing－Maple Leaf Sound Bath
Step into the maple forest, try closing your eyes, and spend a brief moment alone. Direct all your attention to your ears, and you will hear the rustling sound of maple leaves being lifted by the fall breeze, just as the author of 'Anne of Green Gables,' Lucy Maud Montgomery, once said:
“ Maples are such sociable trees ... They're always rustling and whispering to you.”
Only by slowing down your pace and mindfully experiencing this moment can you truly receive the healing energy that maple trees wish to offer. The tranquil and soothing sounds of nature not only help set aside distractions and emotions but also reconnect you with your inner self, allowing you to listen to your authentic voice.
If you can't immediately visit a maple grove to experience this in person, start by listening to a recording online: [Play here]. Don't forget to close your eyes!
Touch－Feel the Unique Shape of a Maple Leaf
Maybe you've gathered maple leaves during your moments of leaf admiration. You've picked them up, carefully placing them between the pages of books to preserve their memory. But have you ever taken the time to truly scrutinize their distinct shapes and intricate patterns?
Try picking up an intact maple leaf with one hand and gently trace its outline with the fingertips of your other hand. Run your fingers along the maple leaf and notice how it's divided into a unique 'palmate' shape, usually featuring five lobes. Keep in mind that you might encounter variations with either three or seven lobes. As you touch the leaf, you'll also detect a gentle coarseness across its surface. Explore the edges of the leaf fragments and count the serrations. Then, follow the intricate veins with your touch, tracing the complex network.
The sense of touch is incredibly sensitive; it not only allows you to quickly detect subtle differences but also creates lasting memories. Focus on the sensation—lightly stroke the vibrant maple leaves on the tree or play with fallen leaves gathered on the ground. Through touch, you can uncover the unique beauty of each individual maple leaf.
Taste－Enjoy a Maple Syrup Picnic
Fall is also a time of hearty appetites. If you find yourself headed to a maple grove, why not plan a leisurely outing? Pack a little picnic and treat yourself to some maple-flavored goodies. It's the perfect way to enhance your maple leaf adventure with delicious indulgence!
"Maple syrup" primarily comes from the sap of maple trees. These trees produce sugar-rich sap through photosynthesis to nourish themselves. It takes about 40 years for a maple tree to grow before its sap can be extracted. To ensure long-term sustainability, only an appropriate amount of sap can be collected from each tree without harming its growth. Moreover, the process of making maple syrup is quite labor-intensive. Renowned author Dan Brown, celebrated for his best-seller "The Da Vinci Code," drew a parallel between crafting maple syrup and the art of writing a novel:
“Writing an informative yet compact thriller is a lot like making maple sugar candy. You have to tap hundreds of trees - boil vats and vats of raw sap - evaporate the water - and keep boiling until you've distilled a tiny nugget that encapsulates the essence.”
Maple syrup offers a luxurious aroma and a flavor that's distinctly less overwhelming compared to conventional sweeteners.. It also contains beneficial minerals and has slightly fewer calories than regular table sugar. This makes it an excellent choice to substitute for sugar in dessert recipes or to add flavor to teas. Surrounded by the mesmerizing beauty of fall landscapes, it's the perfect time to enjoy tasty treats with maple syrup and sip on comforting maple-infused tea. As you do, take a moment to feel thankful and savor this delicious gift from nature.
Smell－Breathe in the Fall Aroma Deeply
Maple trees are impressively long-lived plants. Given the right conditions, they can live up to 300 years or even longer. As time goes by, they radiate an air of maturity and tranquility.. While you might not find deep, mysterious tree hollows among maple trees, these gentle giants are always there to lend a listening ear.
Find a quiet spot beneath a maple tree and spend some time alone. As the fall breeze rustles through the layers of the leaves, take a slow, deep breath. Take in the invigorating aroma that drifts from the fallen leaves. If you breathe in deeply, you might just sense a trace of the woody maple fragrance. Exhale slowly, releasing the thoughts and emotions stored within your mind and heart. This practice not only allows your mind to settle and find serenity but also lets the fresh fall air revitalize your body and spirit.
As you breathe in and out, sense the world's renewal and transformation. Embrace the significance of living in the present moment. Let go of anxiety, stress, and even expectations. Focus solely on treasuring this precious moment.
Sight－Admire the Maples From New Perspectives
The tradition of enjoying autumn foliage has deep historical roots. Around 1200 years ago, Japan's "Man'yōshū" anthology documented the practice of enjoying red leaves, referred to as "momijigari," which translates to "hunting red leaves." This referred to venturing into the mountains during fall to capture the beauty of red leaves. During the Heian period, nobles would elegantly admire the, delicately cradling them in their hands. Today, people often use phones and cameras to eagerly capture the romantic and picturesque scenery. However, no matter how busy you are trying to find the perfect angle for a photo, repeatedly pressing the shutter, you still can't capture all the beauty of the maple tree.
We suggest putting aside the anxious urge to take pictures and explore with your eyes. You might be surprised to discover that the beauty goes beyond the red and orange leaves. Maple trees hold many interesting mysteries, such as their distinctive fruit.
Have you ever seen the peculiar fruit of the maple tree? The fruit has wings called "samaras" or "winged seeds." When they're ready, they fall from the tree and spin like tiny helicopter blades. If the wind catches them, the wings help them fly to new places, helping the maple tree grow in different spots. When you see a maple tree with these reddish wings, take a closer look – they're quite cute!
More: Maple Leaf Joy in Your Pocket
Most species of maple trees are native to the Northern Hemisphere, with a few extending into the Southern Hemisphere. If you don't have fall or maple trees where you are, try planting a virtual maple tree on your phone!
Download and start using the full version of the "Plant Nanny" app to unlock the September-exclusive plant, the "Romantic Maple Tree." As you take a sip of water, use your senses to savor a different kind of maple leaf experience. Observe the fascinating process as the adorable samaras gradually grow into majestic maple trees. Long-press the water-drinking button to hydrate the plant and receive satisfying outcome. Listen to the amusing hums of the fully hydrated maple tree and sync up to savor the healthy taste of water with your little maple companion!