Few months ago, I saw a documentary about Japan’s Aokigahara or Suicide Forest. It was an eye-opener and I have been thinking how a beautiful forest can be the final place of lost souls.
Aokigahara (青木ヶ原), also known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees (樹海 Jukai), is a 35-square-kilometre (14 sq mi) forest that lies at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The forest contains a number of rocky, icy caverns, a few of which are popular tourist destinations. Aokigahara forest is dense, shutting out all but the natural sounds of the forest itself. more here
I joined a tour last month and one of the itinerary was in Aokigahara. We explored the forest by following strictly the public trail. There are warnings not to go to restricted areas as well as to think about your family and loved ones before committing suicide. The place is not as depressing as I imagined it to be. Or maybe because I was in an open part of the forest. Being there is like a therapy, no hints of city sounds, only the voices of nature.
The giant trees seem to be hundred years old. Most of their roots and trunks are covered with moss, an indication of how long they have been there. Perhaps at times, they were comforting the lost souls who have no more energy left to survive the pressures of earth.
Such a depressing stat
In 2003, 105 bodies were found in the forest, exceeding the previous record of 78 in 2002. In recent years, the local government has stopped publicizing the numbers in an attempt to downplay Aokigahara's association with suicide. In 2004, 108 people killed themselves in the forest. In 2010, it is estimated that more than 200 people had attempted suicide in the forest, 54 of whom completed the act. more here
i decided to be one with nature
where I can stop growing
become a moss
a leaf or a wildflower
i can be a firefly
guiding the lost souls
to nirvana of century old branches
brooks and caves
my energy to live
in a physical world may be gone
but i am alive
as a lullaby of the wind
the autumn leaves
hide my sneaker and jeans
the left over wine
cheers for years not so well-spent
Here’s the documentary I have mentioned in the opening line of this post.
Photos taken with Nikon D7000,
lenses used :
Tamron 11-16 mm 2.8f