Skip to main content

Letter from Publisher

Headshot of publisher Peggy Malecki

Peggy Malecki

That late summer feeling is here in gardens and natural landscapes throughout the region. While brilliant oranges and reds of summer annuals and perennials will continue well into the early fall as zinnias and others still bloom, I’m noticing the gradual transition to the yellows, purples, blues and whites of the season, as well as cooler palettes of browns and tans as the native grasses and seed heads begin to fade. While the sun is still high in the late summer sky, evening light is beginning to change. September is a month to savor the full color range of our natural environment.

Of course, if you’re like me, I’m hanging on to every thread of the passing season while also seeking out the inspirations of the coming autumn. Connecting daily to what’s happening outside our homes and offices keeps us in tune with the natural world and adds dimension, inspiration and understanding to all that we do.

Inspired Living is our theme for this issue of Natural Awakenings Chicago, and we’re exploring some of the latest research in longevity and the strong connections of lifestyle and diet to the aging process. It’s also National Awareness Yoga Month, and we take a look at how yoga can contribute to  our long-term wellness.

Speaking of a healthy diet, tomatoes, peppers, squash, summer veggies and stone fruits are in abundance and your counter may be overflowing with the backyard harvest, a gift from a kind neighbor, or the farmers market/CSA/farm stand haul. It seems like every year I say, “if only I had time to do some canning”... Thankfully, freezing and dehydrating are simple and effective ways to preserve the bounty, and take far less time, too. In this month’s Conscious Eating department, Sheila Julson explains the how-tos of dehydrating many foods in “Food Dehydration Made Easy.” Tiffany Hinton offers us a simple recipe for savory oven-roasted tomatoes, and Laine DeLeo explores the variety of eggplants and other produce available this month at our local farmers markets.

Keeping an active lifestyle throughout the year, be it on a beautiful summer day or in a chilly early fall drizzle, is another key to inspired living. Sheryl DeVore takes us on a tour of some of the Chicago area waterway paddling trails in our Natural Chicago section. We’re also happy to report on how the Chicago River Schools Network program of Friends of the Chicago River is again partnering with Girls 4 Science for the 2022-23 school year to help students explore our rivers and learn more about science and nature.

If you’re looking for more inspiration to your healthy lifestyle, consider attending one of the many September, October and November expos, conferences, courses, classes, presentations and events presented this month in our news briefs, calendar and advertisements in print and online at From weekend events to immersive courses, one-hour Zoom events, roll-up-your-sleeves workshops and outdoor adventures, you’re sure to find an opportunity to learn life skills, meet new friends and get inspired for the coming season.

As always, I encourage you to step outside daily to explore the world around us. Listen for migrating birds, watch a squirrel busily stashing away acorns, gather seeds to save for next year’s garden, visit a lake or river, stand with your arms outstretched to enjoy the September sun and mark the seasonal change of the fall equinox. Savor the precious moments of the late summer season.

Here's to an inspiring September!