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Have you ever walked through a forest and become enchanted by a beam of light filtering through the foliage? Light, which normally evenly fills all the space around you, suddenly funnels into a series of rays, scattering shadows on the forest floor. And as a breeze shakes the leaves of these oaks and maples, those shadows dance and ripple.

This is why I love spending time among the trees, whether camping in California’s Redwood National Park or stepping away for a quick stroll around Shaker Lakes in Cleveland. The beauty and solitude I find in wooded areas calms me.

After living in France for three short months during my semester abroad, my French language skills improved drastically. Upon returning home, I realized there were French words and phrases that I wanted to use to describe a situation, but that I actually couldn’t think of how to say it in English.

That’s the beauty of language. In Spanish, sobremesa means “the time spent after lunch or dinner talking to the people you shared the meal with,” which only makes sense when examining Spanish culture. And the Inuit word, iktsuarpok, describes the feeling of anticipation that leads you to keep looking outside to see if anyone is coming. (Read 11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures for more fun and enlightening examples.)

So, when I came across the Japanese word komorebi, I was ecstatic. It translate as “light that filters through the trees” and describes the interplay between the light and the leaves. And to me, this is one of the most beautiful things about being in the forest.

What started as a standard photo shoot, showing off the Topshop kimono that finally filled a void in my closet, quickly changed. Being in the woods near the Shaker Lakes, I suddenly wanted to explore, play and soak in a little bit of nature. It also turned into a long photo shoot, with as many shots of the light and leaves as the kimono I was hoping to showcase.

Read the original style post here, and enjoy these additional shots of me channeling komorebi.

Photos by Michael Ciuni.

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