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Letter from Publisher

Peggy Malecki

It’s with some amazement that I start my November notes to you for this issue of Natural Awakenings Chicago. How did the seasons pass so quickly, again? I’m back to wearing socks and fleece, and sipping a cup of hot tea as fragrant pumpkin bread bakes in the kitchen while I’m here at the keyboard. We’re in that in-between season, enjoying peaceful days before the holidays gear up in earnest. It’s a perfect time to stop for reflection and express quiet gratitude for the gifts and experiences we’re been given this year. Each moment of our days weaves into our life’s tapestry and gives us some memories to be grateful for.

             The sun was shining brightly today, and I took a walk around the yard to check on autumn’s progress. It’s been a bit of an odd fall, if you recall—we went from July-level temperatures and humidity to late-November temps in the span of about three days. As of today, we’ve pretty much stayed in the below average temperature zones and frost has taken its toll on what remained of the tomatoes, peppers and warm weather crops. Kale, arugula, oregano, sage and leafy greens are still going strong, I’m happy to report.

        While things may seem quiet in the veggie garden, the perennials are preparing for winter, as stems die back and roots store up energy for the cold days ahead. Late-season goldenrods, toad lilies, asters and turtleheads continue their show of yellows, blues, pinks and whites that contrast markedly with the now-yellowed ferns. Prairie natives are filled with seed pods, ready to scatter in the wind (or feed overwintering birds). The trees are turning their glorious shades of red and gold as the sugars are reabsorbed for the winter, providing food for the trees and a delightful color show for us.

        The squirrels were busy in the sunshine today, gathering acorns to store away for themselves and the next generation. An ever-thickening blanket of nature’s mulch, a.ka. oak and maple leaves, is piling in the garden beds to protect insects and plants alike throughout the coming cold. Yes, it’s the end of another growing season. And yet, we’re heading into a time of outward quiet and inner growth in anticipation of the warmer, longer days to come next March. Hidden within the appearance of my fall garden is the promise of a new year.

        In this month of Thanksgiving and holiday preparations, we offer you several articles to enhance our overall wellness, to help us focus on gratefulness and to uplift our spirits as we head into the holidays. We’re in a time of abundant fall harvest, and this month’s issue overflows with recipes to help make the most of fall vegetables—perhaps with a new twist. As the season progresses, I encourage you to continue to take in all that our corner of the natural world has to offer with gratefulness as we make the annual transition through late fall. And we’d love to hear from you via email ([email protected]) or on Facebook (@NAChicagoMagazine) or Twitter and Instagram (@NAChicago) to let us know what you are grateful for this November (and share a recipe or two as well).

                                   Happy Thanksgiving!