“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”
Gary Snyder, American Poet (1930)
Sleep under night skies with nothing but stars. Upon waking, breathe it all in: the birdsong, the texture of the trees , the shape of the clouds and the silence of the mist over the valley. More than 44 hectares of varied landscape are longing to be rediscovered. It’s a journey into woodland and meadows with deer and wild boar.
Warm up by chopping wood or go for a walking meditation, have a picnic in the orchard or sink back in the wood fired hot tub. Whether you come to rewild or relax, the natural world will ground you into the here and now.
When he was a boy, Thomas loved being outdoors. But somehow, as he got older and started living the busy digitized life of an entrepreneur, he lost his connection to nature. And at some point, the memories of growing up in Africa and the occasional hiking holiday were no longer enough to heal his senses. Reconnecting with nature became his main motivation to say yes to Domaine Lescure.
ALL ABOUT WOOD
So here we are, in awe of Lescure’s natural beauty, right in the middle of the Parc des Grands Causses, a UNESCO world heritage site. We are carefully tending to the estate’s neglected orchard and woodland, occasionally downing dead trees for light to pour in and biodiversity to flourish. And for firewood. For most of the year, we’re consumed with preparing for winter, wielding chainsaws and stacking logs for our central heating, stoves and fireplaces.
But some trees are just too special to be firewood. Thomas has made our kitchen table from a large oak, which was felled years before our arrival and left to rot in the woods. He chose a dead cedar to build the hot tub in which we now unwind in healingly hot water. With every new day we add a layer of stories and experiences to the estate, connecting us to the nature that surrounds us.
Since starting a vegetable garden to supplement the produce we get from local farmers markets, we have found that lettuce brings happiness. Just as sinking your bare feet into the earth will ground you, so will digging into it with your hands. And nothing beats a simple meal made with vegetables you’ve grown yourself. Perhaps our homemade cider? Our predecessors used to produce this golden drink and since we cleared the orchard we started doing it too. We are working with the same fruit people picked from the gnarled trees almost a hundred years before us. We are even using the antique yeast bottles we found in the cellar. Our cider making connects us to the land, tradition and heritage.
Thomas works boundlessly on the estate. He relaxes in the hot tub, or by wandering quietly under Lescure’s green cathedral of cedar trees. These wanderings have brought him on the path of shinrin-yoku, which is Japanese for forest bathing. He is a certified forest therapy guide, graduated from ANFT (Association of Nature & Forest Therapy) and is qualified to lead people through immersive experiences in forests and other natural environments. Forest bathing sessions are gentle walks that give you the opportunity to feel the living connection with life all around you, and to open up to something that is bigger than yourself. Nature will quiet your mind and open your heart.
FINDING YOUR BREATH
By slowing down in his hot tub, taking deep breaths to feel deeper and unearth emotions that are tied in, Thomas has rediscovered breath as the anchor into the body. Since embracing the power of transformational breathing in his own journey, he has trained to be a breath work coach and uses this new tool to help others to renew their life.