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Letter from Publisher

Headshot of publisher Peggy Malecki

Peggy Malecki

It’s June, a month of seemingly endless possibilities, with the long days of summer stretching out before us like an untraveled path. As we begin this glorious Solstice month, the days are still getting longer, birdsong surrounds us and countless varieties of fresh green leaves and fragrant flowers can be found in every corner of our cityscapes and open areas. Sunrise comes early, as the first colors of the dawn stretch across Lake Michigan in the wee hours, and the last colors of sunset beckon us to stay outside just a little later than we normally would to enjoy the last wisps of daylight as it transitions to twilight and then night. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, these days before the July 4 summer divide are magical. Try to find time this month to observe a sunrise or sunset and note the natural activity happening around you. City, suburbs or rural—no month matches June’s sensory experiences.
It’s no revelation that the last couple of years have been challenging. Many among us may have faced myriad economic, social and health-related challenges well before the pandemic and continue to do so. This edition of Natural Awakenings Chicago celebrates Men’s Health Month by focusing on several aspects of mental and emotional wellness, exploring topics from which we can all benefit. In our main article, “The Healing of the Modern Man,” Marlaina Donato explores the signs of a cultural shift in approaches to men’s mental health and emotional support. In other articles, Susan Curry explains how postpartum depression can affect new dads and Ronica O’Hara looks at some of the emerging therapies that offer new hope for healing deep trauma.
It’s June, so time for some gardening tips from Chicago Botanic Garden horticulturist Lisa Hilgenberg for incorporating perennial veggies into your garden to enjoy year after year. Our Natural Chicago reporter, Sheryl DeVore, introduces us to several native Illinois roses; Tiffany Hinton helps us to enjoy the early garden harvest with a simple grilling recipe for Father’s Day. I encourage you to support our local family farmers by shopping at any of the more than 70 Chicago area farmers markets, as well as independent farm stands, garden centers and co-ops, signing up for community supported agriculture (CSA) shares and purchasing Midwest-grown produce and native plants at locally-owned businesses.
Try to make time this season to find moments of calm and enjoyment in each day and step away from your daily routine for a quick blast of late spring and early summer. If you can, visit the lake, picnic at a park or forest preserve or put your hands into the garden soil. Savor some early season produce or just stay out really late on the longest day of the year. Renew your spirit and refresh your soul.
I leave you with daydreams of the coming summer.
                 Happy Father’s Day
                          and Happy Summer Solstice!